Earth Day takes place during April each year, and it's a day to support environmental protection. First held in 1970, Earth Day sees a wide variety of events and initiatives organised worldwide, with over one billion people taking part in over 193 countries. For 2023, the theme is Invest In Our Planet. This Earth Day, we're sharing eight easy ways to celebrate Earth Day every day.
1. Switch to reusables - A Keep Britain Tidy survey found that littering is on the rise and that among the top ten most littered items were drink bottles and cups, and fast food and snack packaging. Litter not only looks unsightly but it causes pollution and harm to wildlife. Switching to reusable coffee cups and drink bottles, reusable bags and reusable snack bags helps conserve resources and minimise waste.
2. Make a bird feeder - In the UK, recent data reveals that bird numbers are declining, with 48% of species affected between 2015 and 2020. Woodland birds have been most impacted due to habitat loss. A fun and fulfilling upcycling project, you can make your own bird feeder from a wide variety of items - including tea cups, used water bottles, tin cans etc. You get to see these beautiful creatures up close, and help them to thrive at the same time. Search YouTube for inspiration, with videos like this.
3. Go meatless! - 75% of the earth's agricultural land is used for beef and dairy cattle grazing or growing animal feed crops, with rain-forests and other natural lands being cleared as a result, negatively impacting habitats for other species. Switching to a plant based diet can reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with meat production, and minimise deforestation and soil erosion. The Meatless Mondays campaign is a great place to start, with lots of delicious meals to try.
4. Un-sub from junk mail - Deleting spam or unwanted emails will help you feel more organised, and it can have a positive knock-on effect for the environment! If we all delete ten emails, this would be approximate to cutting 39,035 metric tonnes of CO2e (equivalent to 19356 tonnes of coal that is burned every day).
5. Buy secondhand - Whether it's clothes, furniture, technology or household items, there are so many benefits to shopping secondhand. Support a good cause by purchasing from charity shops; reduce carbon emissions and save resources by reducing the demand for new items; and save perfectly good items from sitting in landfill. You're likely to snag a few bargains too... my walking shoes were £7 from eBay and worn just once before!
6. Neighbourhood clean up - Joining a local litter pick is a great way to: meet new people; get some fresh air; feel good about caring for your local area, making it a nicer place for people and animals; prevent harmful items entering our waterways...to name just a few benefits! Visit Surfers Against Sewage or Keep Britain Tidy to find a clean up event near you.
7. Grow some wildflowers - Not only are they beautiful and uplifting to look at, wildflowers help the environment in a variety of ways. Wildflowers and wildflower-rich habitats, such as meadows, provide valuable support for insects and other wildlife, including declining bee populations. Yet since the 1930s, we’ve lost 97% of UK wildflower meadows due to larger-scale, intensive farming and increasing urbanisation. For best results, sow in direct sunlight over bare patches of moist, weed-free soil.
8. Enjoy being in nature - Spending time in nature has been shown to have a myriad of benefits for mental health, including increasing self esteem and confidence, reducing stress and helping us to connect with our local community. It can also renew our appreciation of how beautiful and precious our planet is...and why it's so important that we take steps to protect it.
Looking for more ways to get involved and take action? Visit the official Earth Day website, www.earthday.org