Here in the Bug Bite Thing office, the theme for this weekend’s Earth Day is unity. Many of us grew up watching “Captain Planet” so it’s safe to say, with our powers combined, we believe we can make a difference on April 22, during all of Earth Month, and beyond.
Don’t get us wrong, recycling your Amazon boxes, bringing your own cup to the coffee shop, and reducing your carbon footprint by biking the kids to school are all positive steps for Mother Earth… as is ditching the anti-itch creams and bug sprays for the reusable, chemical-free Bug Bite Thing suction tool! The thing is, when we Planeteers work together, our results are exponential.
How can you do this? It’s easy to get involved in your community, so we put together an Earth Day tool kit full of ideas. From taking simple steps within your day to reaching full-blown eco-warrior status, here are eight ways you can work together for the health of our environment.
Actionable Earth Day Ideas Within Your Community
1. Participate in the Great Global Cleanup
Have you ever driven down the street and thought, “Wow, I can’t believe people would litter like that”? This one is for you: Join a beach cleanup or trail cleanup as part of an Earth Day event. If you’re feeling ambitious, organize your own public cleanup and register it on the Earth Day website. Using apps like Nextdoor and your neighborhood Facebook group can be a fun way to clean up your community while getting to know your neighbors at the same time. Don’t forget to ask everyone to bring some garden gloves, a trash bucket and grabber!
2. Support local growers
Consuming fresh, local produce and beautifying your home with native plants from nearby nurseries is a healthy way to support your community and the ecosystem you live in. One of our favorite ways to do this is to join a community garden in which residents in rural, urban or suburban areas come together to grow and cultivate plants for the good of one another. If you don’t have a nearby community garden, you can also support growers by shopping at your local farmers’ markets.
3. Volunteer at a local wildlife sanctuary.
A big part of caring for the Earth is caring for the animals that inhabit it. Look into the volunteer opportunities in your area, which could include everything from leading wildlife tours or preparing food for the critters, to groundskeeping or transporting animals that need rehabilitation. Search for wildlife refuge organizations in your area to see how you can get started. Some centers even offer group volunteer opportunities, should you want to team up with your coworkers, family or friends.
4. Start a seed swap.
Hosting or participating in a seed exchange is one of the easiest ways to support the world around you. Whether you’re a novice or more advanced gardener, just gather your fellow growers and share seeds for planting! Seeds can come from plants you’ve grown on your own or could be excess seeds they bought while preparing your own garden. A seed swap is also a great way to connect with others interested in the craft and swap gardening tips. The Seed Savers Exchange has an informative tip sheet on how to plan a seed swap event from scratch.
5. Shop a no-waste store.
Around the country, zero-waste stores are growing in popularity as they offer a more sustainable way to shop for goods. These mom-and-pop shops aim to reduce single-use plastics and unnecessary trash by offering products like nuts, spices, grains, snacks, produce, cosmetics, cleaning solutions and more in bulk, of which patrons can purchase by bringing their own jars and containers in to fill and weigh. These stores typically offer other “green” products like shampoo bars, silicone sandwich bags, reusable takeout utensils, unpaper towels and other household items. Many of these small businesses also host community workshops and events to educate others on the low-waste lifestyle, and attending them is a nice way to meet like-minded people while learning something new.
6. Join a community compost service.
Did you know that many other countries have food composting as part of the typical trash pickup services? Though it is not yet commonplace in most of the United States, many areas have a local composting service that will pick up food scraps and expired produce for a small fee. In addition to alleviating organic matter from landfills, these organizations create fresh compost and high-quality soil that is often shared with community farms, schools and residential properties.
7. Build trails and maintain the wilderness.
For those who feel like getting their hands dirty, there are opportunities to build trails, maintain campgrounds, remove invasive species and take part in other preservation tasks with organizations like the Forest Service, American Hiking Society and National Parks. These conservation efforts directly impact our forests and grasslands, plus are a healthy way to meet fellow do-gooders while working together for our communities and planet.
8. Become an environmental advocate.
Think about what Earth Day means to you. Now share it with the world. You can make an impact by hosting a sustainability presentation in your kid’s classroom, speaking to your HOA or contacting your government officials about what is important to you. Maybe you want to push for more environmental education in schools, cut down on single-use plastics in your office building, or talk with your state representatives about cleaner waterways. Whatever it is, use your voice for good. Mother Earth will thank you for it!
Now, after all that, what do you have planned for Earth Day? Whatever it is, we hope you’ll bring your Bug Bite Thing along for the ride, as it can get pretty buggy out there this time of year, and don’t forget to tag us on social media so we can thank you for your Earth Day escapades!