We may be physically distancing right now, but on April 22nd, millions of people around the world will come together to digitally celebrate Earth Day 2020.
Earth Day is a world-wide event which has been celebrated in Canada every year since 1980, and globally since 1970. This makes 2020 Earth Day’s 50th anniversary and the first year that it will be digital, with digital events planned globally, as well as the launch of a new global citizen science campaign called Earth Challenge.
There are also dozens of other ways to show your appreciation for our planet and get involved—even while you’re isolating at home! Here are four of our favourite ideas:
1. Audit your kitchen to reduce food waste
It’s so easy to forget about that jar of uneaten soup, now mouldy in the back of the fridge. While a bit of food waste here or there doesn’t seem like a big deal, it does add up! Canadians waste:
- 470,000 heads of lettuce,
- 1,200,000 tomatoes,
- 2,400,000 potatoes,
- 750,000 loaves of bread,
- 1,225,000 apples,
- 1,000,000 cups of milk
- and 450,000 eggs
…and that’s every day! Be part of the solution to this and conduct a fridge, freezer, and/or pantry audit by assessing what you have in stock, then sorting items into categories (still good, expiring soon, and compost) to create space and visibility in your kitchen. When your kitchen is less packed, you’ll be better able to see what’s available to make meals, which means fewer things will go forgotten and be bound for the compost bin.
2. Hang on to your recyclables and donations
With social distancing and staying home strongly recommended, you may be noticing your non-curbside recyclables—electronics, batteries, clothing, and even things like household paint or light bulbs—piling up as the days pass. This might be from everyday living, or from spring cleaning in your home and garage.
With space often limited, it may be tempting to get rid of these items right away by throwing them in the trash. However, it’s important to keep in mind that once they’re thrown out, they end up in our landfills and stay there. If these discarded products contain harmful chemicals, they can possibly contaminate our soil and waterways by contributing to the toxicity of leachate in landfills.
Instead, we suggest temporarily storing them in a single, low-traffic area of the home like the garage or shed. If you live in a smaller space like an apartment, try clearing out an infrequently used cupboard or shelf for these items. This way, they are still in one place and easy to access when it’s time to recycle (or donate) them.
3. Set some environmental goals—and steps to achieve them!
Though New Year’s Eve has passed, it’s not too late to set a green goal for 2020! Sit down with yourself, your family, or partner, and brainstorm a few environmental goal you’ve always aspired to. Don’t forget to write them down! Examples of goals could be eliminating plastic from a certain aspect of your life (the bathroom, kitchen, etc.), or even getting outside a certain number of times a week.
Of course, no one can fly up a flight of stairs without taking all of the smaller steps to get to the top. Similarly, all achievable goals have steps, too—this can include timeframes, budgeting, or setting micro-goals that lead you to the finish line. For example, if your goal is to get outside twice a week for an hour, you might schedule specific outdoor activities for those days and hold yourself accountable with small rewards for completion.
4. Consume less and connect more
Many people find that connecting with others and the natural environment makes them happy, while acquiring “stuff” does not. There are many reasons why buying stuff doesn’t make us happy, and we’re becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of a more minimal lifestyle.
It’s no coincidence that meditation apps and videos are often themed with rain, forests and calming ocean sounds – practicing mindfulness and meditation is much easier when we’re outside in nature, and hearing birds sing can reduce anxiety. Challenge yourself to be still and connect with the earth with a guided nature meditation in a private backyard, or learn more about our planet and its incredible wildlife by watching a few nature documentary classics on Netflix.
Want more green living tips? See 22 reasons why you should celebrate Earth Day every day.
Tell us how you’re getting closer to nature for Earth Day 2020! Tweet us and get involved with hashtags #EarthDay2020 and #ConsumeLess.