Small changes can make a big difference when working to reduce your environmental footprint! This Earth Day, you can take action to make a BIG difference. Here are 22 ways you can help save the planet on Earth Day (happening on April 22nd) and every other day of the year:
1. Plant a Tree
Leave a legacy by planting a seed that can one day turn into a mighty oak tree. It will provide shade on sunny days, home to woodland creatures, and will replenish the atmosphere’s oxygen.
2. Use Active Transportation
Catch the bus, hop on your bike, or carpool with friends to get around. However you decide to get where you’re going, help cut down on carbon by choosing the green way to get around.
3. Reduce Your Waste
Don’t need the coffee cup sleeve when picking up your cup of joe? Don’t take it with you. Heading out grocery shopping? Take a reusable bag with you instead of picking up plastic ones while you’re there. Use a reusable water bottle, travel mugs, or reusable containers when transporting food. It’s simple. Only buy what you need and reduce your waste. This also includes food waste! Buy what you need and save food to eat at a later time.
4. Reuse Materials
Save your toilet paper rolls for your child’s elementary school art project, save cardboard boxes for your next move, or save newspapers to lay down on the ground when painting your apartment. Take everyday materials and extend their use. Giving a gift to someone your love? Don’t waste a gift bag on every occasion, save ones that you have received to give them a second chance at life and reuse the bags. Or, you can get really creative and use newspaper to wrap boxes instead of opting for wrapping paper. You could even turn old clothes into something new like a dishrag, towel, or cushion cover. The possibilities are endless.
5. Recycle Materials
Toss your paper and plastic in your recycling bin to give items a second life. Plus, if you live in a municipality where you need to sort your paper from your plastic, take the time to do so to make sure everything lands up in the proper place.
6. Donate Gently Used Items
Don’t throw out your 1980’s couch, give it to someone in need! Charities like the Furniture Bank in Toronto accept new and gently used furniture to give low income or refugee families. Other charities like Habitat for Humanity accept gently used furniture and building materials to sell in their Restore. Funds raised helps support their charitable work as they provide affordable homes to people in need. Plus, you can also donate your clothes or other household goods to other charities to support people in need.
7. Conserve Electricity
Switch off the light, television, or any other electronic devices you were using when you leave a room. Doing laundry? Wash your clothes in cold water, and save energy by skipping the dryer. On a nice summer day, hang your clothes to dry outside when doing the laundry.
Raise your hand and volunteer! Find an environmental charity in your neighbourhood to lend your time and skills as a volunteer to give back to a great cause. This could include volunteering at a local community garden or helping to pick up litter in your community.
9. Turn Off the Tap
Turn off the tap when you’re brushing your teeth, select a shorter wash cycle when doing your laundry, and don’t overflow the tub when taking a nice, long and hot bubble bath. Save water by cutting down its use in your home.
10. Write a Letter
Let your local politicians know you care about the environment and that they should too. Write a letter to voice your concerns and interests as a constituent and let them know that the environment is an issue you’re basing your vote on.
11. Give to an Environmental Charity
With thousands of charities across the country to give to, find a local environmental charity on CanadaHelps and make a donation to support their efforts to make a difference. With your generous donation to the charity of your choosing, you’re helping make an even bigger impact to support the work of charities leading the way with their expertise to protect our planet.
Toss your banana peels, apple cores, and other food waste into a compost bin to develop your own nutrient filled soil perfect for kick starting the next item on our list.
13. Start a Community Garden
Develop your green thumb while bringing your community together. Find a local spot to plant a garden your whole community can tend to. Not only will it promote healthy eating as you grow your own fruits and vegetables, it will also teach the kids in your community about where their food comes from and how much work is involved.
14. Adjust to the Temperature
Canada’s winters get cold and summers get hot. Put on a sweater instead of opting to turn up the heart in order to conserve energy in the winter, and turn down your blinds to keep the heat out in the summer. Plus, you could even go to your local community centre to pass the time with your neighbours in the air conditioning when it’s hot!
15. Give an Earth Day Charity Gift Card
Inspire others to give green! With a CanadaHelps Charity Gift Card, you select the value and gift card design, and your recipient chooses from thousands of charities to give to. Not only can they give to an environmental charity to make a difference, by sending the gift card electronically via email, your recipient can give to another cause they care about.
16. Educate Yourself
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” said Nelson Mandela, and it’s easy to see how that can be applied to environmental activism. By learning how our natural environment works, you’ll not only understand how it operates, you’ll also learn to appreciate its beauty and feel even more compelled to take action and protect the only planet we call home. Read a book or blog to educate yourself about environmental issues and open your eyes to a whole new world.
17. Buy Second Hand Items
Find hidden treasures and give items a new lease on life while reducing consumption. Shop at your local thrift shop to purchase items needing a new home.
18. Shop Local
Save on shipping, and cut down on carbon by buying local. This way your purchased goods won’t travel far and produce unnecessary pollution or carbon waste.
19. Buy Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
Next time you purchase light bulbs, opt for energy efficient ones to cut down on energy waste. A bright idea, right?
20. Don’t Litter
Enjoying a nice picnic in the park? Leave as it you found it and don’t leave your garbage behind. Not only does pollution fill our water systems and leave and unpleasant site for the next park goer, litter can also cause a hazard to animals who often get entangled in litter.
21. Operate Online
In today’s digital day in age, everything’s online. Save paper by paying your bills or banking online, teleconference meetings instead of traveling to attend them in person, send emails instead of letters, or doing other business online (like giving to your favourite charity which you can do at CanadaHelps). It’s that simple.
22. Share On Social Media
Once you implement any of these easy tips featured in the list above, share how you’re taking action on social media to inspire others to follow your lead. Together, we can learn from each other and make a difference to support our planet today, tomorrow, and for future generations.