I know what some of you are thinking: Every day is Earth Day and every week is Earth Week. I agree.
However, I believe Earth Day, Earth Week, and now Earth Month succeed in helping normalize a respect for the planet. I hate to say it, but in this day and age, the Earth needs a good set of marketers to bring a celebration of the planet into our collective conscience.
And for this reason, I celebrate Earth Day: not because I need to be reminded of my impact on the earth, but because the more we all collectively celebrate this day, the more Earth Day becomes a part of the mainstream. And the more Earth Day becomes a part of the mainstream, the more people will say “Every day is Earth Day.” Every year this sentiment grows, and that is a good thing.
So for those of us who don’t need a reminder, and don’t want to buy stuff or let Earth Day turn into a day of buying stuff, let’s celebrate the day in our own way: in our communities, in our families, and within our lifestyles. Let’s celebrate it visibly and internally, so that it means something to us, but it also helps redefine normal in the mainstream.
Ten Meaningful Ways To Celebrate Earth Week
- Start/plant a garden in a public-facing space. Try planting vegetables or fruits in your front yard, in a community garden, on your parking strip, in your church yard, or in another neighborhood space. Celebrate eating locally and sustainably!
- Take a week off of buying things. A good way to counter the consumerist aspect of Earth Day is to remind yourself and those around you that celebrating the earth is about not buying more than you need. So go on, try not buying new things for one week, and let your friends and family know how you’re celebrating Earth Week.
- Spend time reflecting on your surroundings. Take family walks each evening, walk or bike to work, go for a local hike or bike, sit on your porch and soak in the neighborhood… There are so many ways!
- Support a local Earth Day event. There are more and more Earth Day events each year. Pick one that you believe in, and volunteer for the day or for a few hours – help them spread the word about Earth Day.
- Have a family staycation. Camp in the backyard, have a picnic in a local park, eat dinner by candlelight, tell family stories around the dinner table, …
- Eat locally all week, or all day. Changing the way we eat is so important for our own well-being as well as that of the earth. Some of us jumped right into this idea and live quite locally and seasonally. However, for others it is more difficult, so start slow: eat local meals for a day, or even for a week. You might find it’s addictive! Check out Local Harvest if you don’t know where to begin.
- Volunteer locally. There are many local organizations who have needs in the spring. Local environmental organizations likely have work parties to plant native plants, for example. Local community gardens likely need help harvesting and growing food for local food banks, local charities can likely use your help in numerous ways. Call, email, or visit them – I’m sure they could use your help!
- Give up plastic for a week. Need incentive to give up plastic? Check out Fake Plastic Fish for loads of ideas.
- Give away things you don’t need. Go through that stuff in your closets, basement, and garage that you haven’t used for years, and give it to a local charity, thrift store, Freecycle, or a neighbor or friend who will use it. Not only does this free your home from clutter, it also keeps others from buying new things because you give them hand-me-downs.
- What else? What else can we do for Earth Week that is low- to no-cost and stays true to our values? I’m sure you’ve thought about it, and if you haven’t take a moment now to think about it, and leave a thought for us in the comments. I’m sure your comment will help someone else. What are you thinking of doing this week for Earth Day or Earth Week?