The world celebrates Earth Day every April 22, and while it may not garner the attention of the big gift-giving holidays, it’s the most important holiday of the year. Seriously – Christmas, July 4 and Thanksgiving are probably among the first days you think of when holidays come to mind, but if we neglect our planet, we won’t have anything to celebrate. It’s time we give Earth Day the publicity it deserves.
Maybe Earth Day doesn’t have the public profile of other holidays because people don’t know how to celebrate it. Ask the average person how one would celebrate Earth Day and they’ll give you something generic like “plant a tree.” Planting a tree is all well and good, but it’s not the only way to celebrate Earth Day.
Leave the car in the garage
According to the EPA, 31 percent of all CO2 emissions are caused by transportation, which is second only to electricity generation. Leaving the car at home and taking an eco-friendly commute to work is an excellent way to observe Earth Day, especially if you live in an urban area with public transit readily available. Biking or walking to work are ideal, but if your trip is too far, taking a bus or train is still better than driving. If you’re out in the suburbs or living in a rural area, think about carpooling with co-workers – it’s not as green as biking to work, but it’s still better than driving by yourself.
Replace your light bulbs
You just read that electricity is the number one source of carbon emissions, so why not tackle this one next? If every household in the U.S. replaced just one incandescent bulb with an Energy Star-approved CFL bulb, we’d save around $600 million in annual energy costs and sequester nine billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year.
Unplug, unplug, unplug
Household electronic devices use phantom power, which means they draw power even when they’re turned off. This wastes electricity and can add about 10 percent to your electric bill. There are a few ways to avoid this waste of money and power – you can buy an energy saver power strip or simply unplug your devices. Climbing behind a wall fixture and unplugging the TV might be a bit of a hassle, but it certainly isn’t difficult to unplug your phone charger when your battery reaches 100 percent.
Recycle surplus clothing at a school near you
USAgain’s Earth Month Challenge, a no-work, no-profit contest for schools, is set to kick off this April. The Challenge awards schools with cash prizes for collecting textiles to be recycled. Programs like the Earth Month Challenge allow USAgain to connect with communities and highlight the importance of recycling to students, parents and teachers. Learn more about the contest here. If you’re a teacher, administrator or parent at a school that’s interested in earning money for recycling, there’s still time to sign up. You have until March 31. Register immediately for a chance to win one of five cash prices for your schools.
Leave us a comment if you have an interesting way of celebrating.