April 22 is Earth Day in Canada. First celebrated in 1970 to demonstrate global support for environmental protection, Earth Day has become, in recent years, a serious call to action to undo—or hopefully slow down—the harmful effects of rapid climate change caused by industrialization, deforestation, pollution, and CO2 emissions. In short, our planet needs more people to take on Earth Day as a serious crusade. What can we do as individual citizens to take care of our world?
Here are five helpful ways to celebrate Earth Day this year:
#1: Encourage Friends, Family, and Coworkers to Participate in Earth Hour
The World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) began Earth Hour in Sydney in 2004. Since then, Earth Hour—also called Lights Out—has reached global popularity, encouraging residents, businesses, and governments to shut off their lights for just one hour in March every year. This year, Earth Hour is scheduled on March 30th from 8:30 to 9:30.
How can you make a bigger impact? Spread the word! Tell your friends and family to shut off all unessential lights. Encourage coworkers to do the same and ask your management to get involved. If your community isn’t spreading enough Earth Hour awareness, write to your local MP, mayor, or town hall.
While the goal of Earth Hour is symbolic, this global event has reduced our worldwide energy consumption by 4%.
#2: Plant Pollinator-Friendly Seeds
Our ecosystems are symbiotic. Our plants, animals, and bacteria are all connected in ways that we’re still attempting to understand. One fundamental symbiotic relationship that we must nurture is the wellbeing of our pollinators—mainly bees, but also bats, butterflies, birds, and other insects. If our bees continue to decline at their current rate, their demise will have devastating effects. Humans need bees to survive, as they are the reason our fruits and vegetables continue to grow.
To promote a healthy bee population, give bees what they need. Plant bee-friendly plants and flowers that are native to your area and leave our pollinators with a source of water and shelter.
Do you live in Canada? Plant these seeds to attract bees and pollinators:
What else can you do to encourage bees to pollinate in your area? Give them a home! Many bee species don’t live in hives like honeybees. For bees that live singular lifestyles, you can easily build them bee hotels! Consult the David Suzuki Foundation to learn how!
#3: Get Creative with Reusable Bags
Anyone who has ever had a mom made lunch for them might have been told to bring back their sandwich bags so she could wash them out and reuse them. Unfortunately, plastic sandwich bags don’t last forever, no matter how frugal our moms are. If you want to create reusable sandwich bags and plastic wrap that will last much longer than a single use, it’s time to get creative.
DIY Food Wrap
You will need:
- Cotton fabric (prewashed)
- Beeswax beads
- Pinking shears
- Parchment paper
- Baking sheet
- Heat the oven to a very low temperature (just warm enough to melt the wax)
- Cut out desired sizes of fabric, making sure that they lie flat on your baking sheet (you might only be able to make one at a time)
- Lay them on top of the parchment-lined baking sheet and sprinkle the wax beads across the surface of your fabric
- Place in the oven long enough to melt the wax
- Remove from oven and use extra bits of fabric or a basting brush to spread the wax evenly across the fabric
- Hang to dry
These reusable and sustainable food wraps can be used as sandwich envelopes or can replace cling wrap when you want to keep any leftovers in the fridge.
#4: Organize a Neighbourhood Clean up
Sometimes, making the world a better place can feel like a pointless endeavour. After all, you’re only one person versus seven billion. But one person can make a world of difference if they encourage others to get involved in earth-friendly activities.
For instance, you as a single person can inspire your city, neighbourhood, or even street to go outside and spend a couple of hours cleaning garbage from public places such as parks, sidewalks, and beaches. If every person in the world cleaned up just one item of trash, that would lead to seven billion less health and safety risks to our wild habitats.
#5: Stop Buying Single-Use Plastic Bottles
According to the Ocean Health Index, plastic accounts for 60%–80% of all marine debris or eight million metric tonnes every year. The only way to defeat those staggering numbers is to change the way you consume food and water and also, change the way you think. Bringing your own lunches and reusable water bottle to work every day will save you money while keeping your trash out of our landfills and oceans.
Celebrate Earth Day by pledging to stop using single-use plastic bottles. Shop online at Goody Water for all your reusable water filters and bottles.