But before we dive into some valuable Earth Day tips, let me ask you a question. Have you ever heard of Anne Moyne? Elizabeth Chapman? Before writing this article: neither had I. But the contributions of these two women to improving the earth's ecology is immeasurable. How so?
- Anne Moyne is the woman who raised the famed naturalist James Audubon.
- Elizabeth Chapman was the mother of the man we all know as Johnny Appleseed.
So, if being a world changer sounds too overwhelming, you can still be a world influencer starting right at home. This Earth Day, consider being an example to your family, to your neighbors, to your co-workers. While your actions alone may not noticeably improve the health of our planet, the ripple effect of your actions on those with whom you have any influence can have a lasting and positive effect, as can the millions and millions of individual actions undertaken in unity around the globe as a result of efforts such as Earth Day. Here are a few simple ideas to get you started.
Tip #1 – Make green things
Planting trees or starting gardens are both projects that you can turn into family activities. Even if you don't have a yard of your own, you can volunteer to plant a tree or start a garden for an elderly neighbor or friend.
Tip #2 – Reduce trash
- Teach your family how to identify recyclable waste and then commit to using a recycle program at home and in your neighborhood.
- Find ways to reuse items that would normally get thrown out. For example, an egg carton can be a handy way for planting and germinating seeds.
- Switch to brands of products that use less packaging – less to throw away!
- Make more food from scratch to reduce packaging waste.
- Recycle food scraps by starting a compost pile.
Tip #3 – Acclimate to planet Earth
- Eat outdoors once a week.
- Go for a hike.
- Instead of grabbing an umbrella, go dance in the rain.
- Open the windows, and let the outside air into your home. A recent EPA statistic shows that indoor air quality in homes is up to four times as bad as outdoor air.
- Have an outdoor Green Earth party.
- Read regularly? Get a backpack version of a folding chair, so you can seek out a nice, quiet vista, perhaps along a trail, and read your book or magazine surrounded by the beauty of nature.
Tip #4 – Green up your transportation
- If your town has a good bus or train system, consider making mass transit a family goal to replace some driving.
- Bike or walk to work instead of driving. You'll not only be reducing harmful emissions by not taking your car, but you'll be doing yourself a great favor healthwise.
- Carpool yourself and your kids to school, work, or after-school activities.
- Consider switching to a hybrid car or electric car, which can substantially reduce emissions.
Tip #5 – Grow your environmental knowledge
- Share this 2-minute motivational video about how we influence the environment.
- Teach your kids about James Audubon and Johnny Appleseed.
- Start an online discussion (or join an existing one) on environmental and ecological issues, or share your own environmental tips, on this site sponsored by the EPA.
- Get loads of information on how you can help or teach your children at the EarthDay.org 2013 site.
- Search for Earth Day and eco-events and activities in your community and around the country.
- Teach your kids about the importance of plants.
- Get ideas on how you can commit to protecting the environment.
- See what you can do to take environmental action.
- Learn or share with others at the Sharing, Learning and Teaching site sponsored by the EPA.
- Make an ongoing environmental difference by getting involved in your local chapter of The National Audubon Society.