Regardless of your personal beliefs regarding climate change, it’s undeniable that the effects of pollution, waste, and non-renewable resources impact our planet. Saving the world is no small task, but there’s always something that you can do to make a difference. This upcoming Earth Day is a chance to make even a small impact — there is even a virtual Earth Day this year because of COVID.

What You Can Do for Earth Day

Earth Day is on April 22 every year. You don’t have to be a tree hugger to do a little for the planet you live on. All you need to do is make room for an activity or two in your Calendar to benefit Earth. Here’s a list of ideas for what you can do to make a small difference for yourself and the people around you inhabiting Earth:

Plant a Tree

One of the most traditional ways to celebrate Earth Day is by planting a tree. Some families will plant a seedling in their backyard as an activity and teaching moment for kids. It’s exciting to watch the tree grow and think back to the day it was planted. In other instances, communities and organizations band together to take on a larger-scale tree planting project at a local park or public area to plant as many trees as possible.

Planting a tree is more than a symbol of your support for the planet. Plants take in that nasty CO2 and convert it to tastier oxygen. You know, that stuff that’s needed to survive. On top of that, the shade trees provide will cool down the blazing temperatures of the summer. In fact, a canopy of trees can bring the summer heat down several degrees compared to the concrete jungle.

If you’re interested in planting a tree, you can find seedlings at your local garden center. National chains such as Walmart and Lowe’s are a good place to start. You can also look online and on social media for groups putting together Earth Day events. There’s a chance that they’ll provide some trees to participants to take home for themselves.

Park the Car

Global warming aside, the most popular buzzword when talking about the environment, carbon emissions are affecting you every day. All of the cars and factories burning gas and puffing smoke into the air gets cycled into your lungs one way or another. High carbon emissions lead to air pollution that will give you increased headaches, difficulty breathing, and more.

How can you keep the air in your city as clean and pure as possible? By parking the car and looking for alternative means of transportation. This Earth Day, you can create a plan to commute to work a different way or space out the usage of your vehicle to lower your carbon footprint.

For starters, look at public transportation options for commuting to work. A bus full of 50 people is a great alternative to 50 cars clogging up the highway. Another option for those working close to home is riding a bike. Also useful for short errand runs, a bike has zero emissions and provides some much-needed daily exercise.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Currently, only about one-third of America is actively recycling. Imagine the monumental impact if even half of the U.S. population was making an effort to recycle. In particular, plastic is used by the tons each day and spends most of its life in landfills, ocean floors, and otherwise beautiful places. Recycling uses this material to lower the costs of production while also keeping Earth clean and happy.

The biggest reason some people don’t recycle is that they don’t know-how. I say, “Google it!” Gratefully, recycling has become mainstream and an easily accessible feature in most cities, making it difficult to find the necessary resources to get started. Start by looking for any programs in your city that you weren’t aware of. Both public and private organizations have recycling centers and programs to educate you and help you get started.

While you’re working on that, set some goals to be more thrifty as well, reduce the amount of waste you generate by using a refillable water bottle, or eliminate your use of paper plates. There are numerous options available for reducing waste and reusing products, which will not only save the planet but save you money as well.

Hit the Town

Not all Earth Day activities need to be life-altering. A simple yet fulfilling thing you can do is get a group of friends together to clean up the town. Walk down the highway, safely, of course, and pick up all the trash you see. With a fun group, the project won’t even seem like work, with story-telling and jokes to pass the time away.

If you’re feeling motivated, you can put together a more elaborate project. Repainting the local library or cleaning up a school playground will be just as rewarding and will make a fabulous addition to your Calendar. Talk with local leaders about the needs of your community and come up with a project you can spearhead.

Combine a nature walk with some volunteer work and join an Earth Day 5k race. Admission prices will be given to a non-profit organization aiming to make your community greener and more energy-efficient. Additionally, you’ll be able to hit some exercise goals along the way.

Earth Day is a chance to begin new habits and make an impact on the world you inhabit. This day can become more than a single event; it can be the start of beneficial lifestyle changes for you and your family.

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