Ten Low Cost, High Impact Ways to Celebrate Earth Day



Low Cost:

Family hiking 1) Go outside. Take a walk, sit on your porch, have lunch in the park, eat a picnic dinner with family or friends. Looking outside doesn't count. Get out there and just…relax.

2) Plant something. If the idea of relaxing drives you a little bit crazy, do something useful. Plant a tree, sow vegetable seeds in your garden, transplant seedlings, fill your porch pots with flowers you'll enjoy the rest of the spring and summer.

3) Look out your window. Okay, for all you people who want to be "eco" but really hate the idea of digging dirt or lunching en pleine aire, pull up a chair to your favorite window and take a gander outside. Notice the birds in your yard, the buds on the trees, the clouds in the sky. Sound sappy? Maybe. Try it, just for half an hour. Let me know what it does for you. 

4) Go see a movie. AFTER you've connected to your own backyard, connect to the world. "Nature," the new Disney movie, offers stunning cinematography of some of the most spectacular natural places on the globe. Plus, Disney is planting a tree for every ticket sold (so…it's an easy way for you to take credit for #2, above).

5) Swap stuff with your friends or family. So far, Earth Day is about the only major U.S. holiday that does NOT masquerade as an excuse for a shopping spree. Let's keep it that way. If you need something, send a note to your personal e-mail list and ask if you can borrow it or swap for it. You can also try Craig's List and FreeCycle.

One_in_a_million 6) Sign up for the One-in-a-Million Campaign. We've inspired thousands of people to shift their spending to products and services that offer the greatest environmental benefit. Joining the campaign is free, and over time, the actions you take will save you thousands of dollars.

High Impact

7) Prepare organic food. If you've been thinking you should switch to organic produce, free range meat, and hormone-free milk, now's the time to make your move.  You should be able to find organic milk, meat, and produce at your local grocery store, food coop, or natural foods store. If not, ask the store manager to order it for you. Give the manager your name and phone number and say you'd like to be notified when the items come in. Let the manager know you and your friends want to see more organics on the shelves.

8) Plug into a power strip. Computers, fax machines, printers, televisions, microwave ovens and other appliances use almost as much energy when they're plugged in but turned off as when they're turned on. Plug into energy-saving power strips (one in the office, one next to the family tv, one in the kitchen) so you can easily cut the current; the money you save will pay for the cost of the power strips.

9) Carpool, telecommute, bicycle or take mass transit. Burning gasoline for transportation is a major cause of air pollution, smog, and climate change. On Earth Day, change the way you commute to work or get kids to sports practice and music lessons.

10) Make every day Earth Day. Yes, it's corny, but it's true. Taking one action on Earth Day may make you feel good, but it won't add up to much unless it's repeated over time. Besides, don't you need an excuse to spend a half an hour just looking out the window?

9 Responses to Ten Low Cost, High Impact Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

  1. Mayer Baker April 20, 2009 at 11:02 am #

    Another DON’T/DO for Earth Day: DON’T eat meat (red or white) – cradle to grave meat production causes more greenhouse gas emissions than driving a car! DO try to drop meat from one’s diet at least 1 day a week – or, go meatless at breakfast and lunch and only eat meat for dinner!

  2. Green Fundraising April 20, 2009 at 12:33 pm #

    Great tips – I sent this on thru twitter. I am taking my daughter for a long walk – rain or not. It should be a fun way to celebrate our love of nature!

  3. Lynn from Organicmania.com April 22, 2009 at 8:23 am #

    Diane,
    What a great list.
    I wish I could join you in enjoying nature, but I’m sitting here in a jury room!
    I agree with you about keeping Earth Day “the only major U.S. holiday that does NOT masquerade as an excuse for a shopping spree.” And you and I of course are HUGE supporters of green business…but there needs to be a balance. Unfortunately we’re not there yet.
    Thanks for your contribution to the Green Moms Carnival!
    Lynn

  4. Mary Hunt April 22, 2009 at 11:12 am #

    Nice to see One in a Million in the top 10. It’s still a fantastic idea.

  5. Condo Blues April 22, 2009 at 11:55 am #

    I’m glad that Earth Day is on a regular weekday because it’s really easy to “celebrate” by just doing your normal everyday environmentally friendly things. For example, my husband took his morning cup of Fair Trade coffee to work with him in his reusable travel mug. I finished the pot and just threw the dried coffee grounds and eggshells from my breakfast into the garden bed. Lunch for both of us was leftovers. I did a full load of laundry w/ homemade waste free HE detergent and used a couple of tennis balls instead of fabric sheets or softner in the dryer (spring allergies mean line drying only in winter.) Pretty basic and small stuff but when you add all the little thins up it can make a big difference.

  6. Doreen / Mom Goes Green April 23, 2009 at 10:57 am #

    Great list! I am also a big fan of allowing ourselves to do something significant, but realizing that it doesn’t mean we have to install solar panels on our rooftop! Hope your Earth Day was green and beautiful! :)

  7. Laura Jean Karr April 24, 2009 at 11:44 am #

    Thanks for the list. I agree with keeping Earth Day a non-commercial shopping spree… I do so hope that we will be able to keep to that spirit in the future.

  8. sommer April 25, 2009 at 6:05 am #

    I like the idea of signing up for the one in a million campaign. I need to do this. Looking out the window and appreciating what is around you is something that we all need to do more often. I’m loving the grass getting greener and the flowers blooming. It’s so beautiful.

  9. Jen Anderson May 5, 2009 at 9:30 am #

    Another tip is to buy eco-friendly products from merchants that specialize in green products. There are numerous businesses on the internet that sell natural and organic products. A website to find them is http://www.ecofriendlysites.org

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