Each year, Earth Day marks the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. The aim of Earth Day is to build community activism around the world through a broad range of events and activities.
It is the largest public event in the world, celebrated simultaneously around the globe by people of all backgrounds, faiths and nationalities. More than a billion people participate in Earth Day campaigns every year. It offers the perfect opportunity to raise consciousness of the way our modern lives are affecting the planet, and have a lot of fun in the process.
Things to do at home in celebration of our beautiful planet:
Grow your own – It’s official, home-grown food just tastes better. Nurturing a little patch of the earth and growing food to feed your family is a really joyful way to promote a healthy planet. Choose organic seeds where possible or get involved with a local seed-swap http://www.seedysunday.org/. Food can be grown anywhere – on a window-ledge, balcony, allotment or garden. Share your summer glut with neighbours and friends and get them involved in the revolution. Next time you look at your garden and feel tempted to cut back all the wild stuff and go the lawn or decking route, think of all the wildlife habitats you’ll be destroying. Think food, not lawns. http://www.foodnotlawns.com/ And make the most of your kitchen waste by composting it
Be your own transport – Now the warmer weather’s here, there’s no excuse not to get back in the saddle! With petrol prices rising and peak oil looming, now is the time to cycle and walk, making the most of our beautiful countryside and getting fit into the bargain. Travel is one of the biggest culprits in climate change – as Gandhi so eloquently put it: ‘Be the change you want to see’. Getting out and about on foot or pedal is a great way for kids to learn about and engage with the world around them. Get out of the habitual use of the car and aim to walk, cycle and take public transport more this year.
Give up plastic bags – Get yourself some really sturdy lifetime bags (not the supermarket ‘Bags for Life’!) or make your own. There are loads of gorgeous bag patterns on the net and what could be nicer than trotting off to the shops with your own signature piece?! Don’t be part of the plastic pollution that clogs our oceans and chokes our earth. Look on You Tube for thousands of informative videos on how to make your own bags from second-hand jeans to t-shirts.
Buy local – Supporting smaller companies not only ensures you have a better idea of the production chain of the item you buy, it also helps communities to thrive. By choosing local food you’re cutting out the dreaded air miles of produce like strawberries that we’ve come to expect all year round. You also get to spend time with people in your locality and build up friendships and connections. What about getting your town together to discuss becoming part of something bigger?
Reduce/Reuse/Recycle – the key tenets of the environmental movement. Reduce your consumption, choosing items, from foods through to toys and entertainment, that really make you feel joyful. Allow yourself to step off the consumer treadmill now and again and enjoy the sweet smell of freedom! Reuse wherever you can. When buying new items, don’t go for the cheapest but aim instead to choose life-time products that can be repaired. Check out the Freecycle network and other community swap projects. Recycle whatever has finished its purposeful life – from bras through to paint.
Get your clothes from charity shops or make your own – The textile industry is hugely detrimental to the health of our planet, contributing to pollution from pesticides and dyes, through to sweatshop labour. You can find some great second-hand clothes at charity shops, hold a clothes-swap party with friends, or set about making your own fantastic creations.
Holiday in the UK – Before you jet off to far-flung climes, consider setting out to discover what’s on your doorstep. From castles to lochs, ancient woodlands to canals, mountains to caves, Britain really does have a remarkable range of exciting holiday destinations. You can travel by train and stay in any one of the hundreds of ethical B&Bs and campsites that have sprung up over the past ten years.
Reduce your energy consumption – Turn your heating down/off, switch the lights off when not in use, get a solar panel, put lids on saucepans, don’t leave electrical items on standby, when buying new electrical items go for the most energy efficient, get a wood-burner…there are so many everyday ways you can make a difference. Consider having an energy-free day or weekend once a week or month. Get together with friends and family round a campfire, cooking, telling stories, playing games and making music – it will revolutionise the way you feel about energy consumption! Want to learn fantastic ways in which to live a more connected and off-grid lifestyle? Completely powered by clean, renewable energy, Off-Grid Festival has workshops that will inspire and move you and you’ll meet like-minded people too.
Here are some fun facts about the Earth, to help you get your head around just what an incredible thing Earth Day is celebrating!
The Earth is 4.6 billion years old and has an average diameter of 12,742 kilometers. (7,926 miles). It is the third planet from the sun and the fifth largest in our solar system.
The Earth travels through space at 66,700 miles per hour. The length of time it takes for Earth to orbit the Sun is 365 and a quarter days. To make up this extra quarter which isn’t counted at the end of a year, we have an extra day every four years on 29th February.
Earth is the only planet in the Solar System to have water in its three states of matter: as a solid (ice), a liquid (sea, rain, etc.) and as a gas (clouds).
The centre of the Earth, its core, is molten. This means that it is liquid rock which sometimes erupts onto the surface through volcanic eruptions. This core is 7,500°c, hotter than the surface of the Sun!
Only 29% of the surface is actually ‘earth’. The rest of the planet’s surface (71%) is made up of water (facts taken from Project Britain)