The first Earth Day took place in America on April 22, 1970. Since then, it has gone from strength to strength and now over 1 billion people worldwide participate in Earth Day activities and events. The Earth Day Network (EDN) works with over 22,000 partners in 192 countries with the aim of mobilising the environmental movement.
Spend some time in woodland and around trees, and talk to your kids about how these majestic beings provide us with the air we breathe. Why not visit your local river or coastline, and talk about the great gift of water. Or watch the insects and chat about how they pollinate the plants and ensure we have food on our plates. Make Earth Day a day of reverence and awareness, one that acts as a catalyst for bigger lifestyle changes, but also a family day your kids will remember and hopefully share with your grandchildren!
To create a sustainable future for our children, the reverence and gratitude we show the Earth on Earth Day needs to be something that resonates for us every day. As you engage with your Earth Day activities, think about ways in which some of these ideas and events could become regular features of your family life.
Here are our top ten ways to celebrate this special day:
1. Plant a tree – make it a sacred act, giving thanks for the gift of clean air. Each take turns to add soil and water the new tree and offer it your blessing.
2. Walk or ride your bike – leave the car at home today and walk or ride your bike to school or work. Enjoy being in your natural surroundings and notice all the things you might usually drive by.
3. Have a meat-free meal – the Worldwatch Institute estimates that meat and dairy production accounts for 51% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Give the Earth a break and go vegetarian for the day…week…month…year.
4. Turn off your power for a day – experiment with a day of no power. Switch off phones, televisions, computers, and lights and enjoy some candlelight and a fire. If it’s not wet outside, you could cook over a campfire.
5. Feed the birds – this has been a particularly challenging winter and spring for birds and wildlife. Give them a helping hand by getting into the habit of feeding them and proving fresh water. Find out more at www.rspb.org.uk
6. Minimise your water usage – experiment with filling some large saucepans and jugs for your day’s water usage and stick to it! Have three separate vessels for cooking, drinking, and washing/brushing teeth. Flush the toilet only if you have to.
7. Build a compost bin – composting is a perfect way to use up your kitchen scraps and create a rich fertile soil for your garden. Find out more at http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/composting/
8. Construct a wildlife hotel – these are easy to build in a secluded area of your garden and will attract hedgehogs, frogs, toads and a whole host of insects. Find out more at http://www.rspb.org.uk/advice/gardening/insects/wildlifestack.aspx
9. Get outside – spend some time in the natural world: go swimming in a river, get muddy in the park, hug a tree in the woods, run along a beach, or simply lie down on the Earth. However you spend your outdoors time, offer a loving sense of gratitude for this beautiful planet we share.
10. Plant a wildflower bed – the human species would not survive without pollinating insects and birds, so give thanks to them by providing a wildflower area in your garden.