Photo Source: Hub Pages, Restore Our Earth
It’s that time of year! On April 22nd, 2021, Earth Day celebrates its 51st anniversary! Generally, each Earth Day has a theme. This year’s theme is “Together, We Can Restore Our Earth.” It’s also National Park Week (April 17-25), which provides a variety of events and digital experiences to check out, too. Earth Day 2021 also has virtual events, speakers, and conferences you can follow and tune in for some inspiration on how to celebrate our planet. For more information on virtual, official Earth Day events, click here! Now, let’s dive in and look at the history of Earth Day, and 21 ways we can celebrate our planet on Earth Day.
History of Earth Day
The first official Earth Day was on April 22nd, 1970. This day came to light when Senator Gaylord Nelson created the day for people to embrace environmentalism and promote the protection of planet earth. The first Earth Day had over twenty million Americans participate. After the first Earth Day, later that year, Congress authorized the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the United States. After this, the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act followed. Twenty years later, this “holiday” became global as 200 million people in 141 countries joined the celebration and collaborated on efforts for global environmental issues.
21 Ways to Celebrate Our Planet
- Go on a hike and connect with nature! Remember to take only pictures and leave only footprints. A hike can be planned, spontaneous, and accessed near and far from your home. Remember to pack a reusable water bottle and pack out your trash, too!
- Tune into a virtual concert sponsored by National Geographic to kick off Earth Day 2021.
- Visit a zoo, aquarium, science museum, botanical garden, or nature center near your home! These facilities are a great way to appreciate wildlife and nature and support non-profit organizations working to promote wildlife conservation.
- Grab your friends or family and host a trash pick-up! Our planet is beautiful and we must work hard to keep it clean and pick up after others. This is a fun way to get outside, get involved, and do something great for your community.
- Donate to a non-profit working to save our planet. If you need ideas for great conservation efforts or projects, think of the ocean! As ocean enthusiasts, we know how important it is to keep the big blue safe. If you need ideas, feel free to DM us on Instagram @Respect_the_fin.
- Further your education and watch the Global Leaders Summit on Climate on April 22nd and 23rd. The Verge says, “President Biden has invited 40 world leaders to a Leaders Summit on Climate which will take place April 22nd and 23rd. On the agenda are weighty questions, including how to reduce emissions, achieve net-zero (offsetting or reducing carbon dioxide emissions), and protect populations from climate change.”
- Watch a nature documentary! There are endless options available to learn more and immerse yourself in the videography of nature. Additionally, David Attenborough’s film with Apple TV will premiere called, The Year Earth Changed. Photo Source: Good News Network
- Visit a new national or state park! This is a great way to learn the history of wild places, celebrate nature, and support parks systems in the United States.
- Build a home for wildlife! Following guides and wildlife-friendly tutorials, you can create a safe place for wildlife in your backyard. Examples of this are bee habitats, bird feeders, or nest boxes.
- Plant flowers in your backyard or front yard! This planet thrives on its relationship with plants, and we do too! Try planting something new for beauty or function. Growing your produce or herbs is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.
- Start a composting project. Depending on your living style, location, and resources, you can create a compost bin or garden that will help reduce your waste output and thus your carbon footprint. There are lots of great guides for this on the internet.
- Spend time journaling or creating art out in nature. Nature is the perfect place to gather inspiration and spend time reflecting. Celebrate Earth Day with a poem, a picture, or a journal entry!
- Go birding! Grab your binoculars, bird guide, and a buddy, and go find some flighted friends. Birding is a great way to learn more about wildlife, participate in citizen science, and get to know the species in your area.
- Go for a swim! There’s no better way to celebrate our planet than diving into some water! Find a safe lake, river, creek, or ocean to splash in.
- Ride your bike! Find a beautiful nature trail or safe area to bike and celebrate our planet while getting some exercise.
- Visit the beach! Time near the ocean is time well spent, especially on Earth Day.
- Volunteer for a local organization that is working to battle global climate change. On a local or bigger scale, your time and dedication to the planet matter. Find an organization with values you resonate with and get involved!
- Swap out the plastic. If you’re going to spend time indoors on Earth Day, take a trip to your kitchen and make choices to reduce your plastic usage, waste, and carbon footprint.
- Visit a farmer’s market! Buying locally sourced produce is a great way to support smaller farms and help our planet.
- Take photos! Whatever you see or do on Earth Day can bring awareness and inspiration to others celebrating it, too! Posting photos and sharing your love for our planet spreads positivity and can help your community out. Don’t be afraid to share your thoughts on Earth Day, wildlife, and our planet.
- Learn more about species of concern. Take part of the day to educate yourself on a new animal. There are a lot of endangered species that need conservation and protection now more than ever. Knowledge is power and you have the power each and every day to make a difference!
Remember that every day should be a day to celebrate, protect, and appreciate our planet. We share this planet with wildlife, and it is always worth protecting and advocating for. I hope you find your special way to recognize the planet this year, and spread some of that love and admiration, too. Happy Earth Day!
Photo Source: National Geographic
Written By: Bailey Higa