It all began on April 22, 1970 when American senator Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day to spark off environmental education and protection. Today over 193 countries and 1 billion people have made it a global event and the largest civic-focused day of action in the world.
Earth Day draws attention to a large number of issues like pollution of the oceans, land debris, climate change, overpopulation, conservation of ecosystems, conservation of non-renewable energy, corruption of soil, corrosion, overpopulation, nuclear issues, depletion of the ozone layer and the Earth’s natural resources, deforestation, etc. Divesting from fossil fuels, and making cities renewable may be a long haul dream, but let’s all be part of the local movements aimed at educating people about environmental issues and factors responsible for environment degradation. The discourse may be a larger political affair but here are the simplest ways to play the individual part well.
- Walk, ride or carpool to commute. The fewer cars there are on the road, the sooner we can get to places and the better off we will be.
- Automating all your bills payments online and switching to e-bills and digital invoices.
- Use the 5 R’s. Refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose and recycle.
- Education and participation are probably the two most impactful things to creating sustainable change. Encourage others to join the celebration, share your knowledge with others. It may be a small-scale local activity, but it still counts for something.
- Volunteer at local and national organizations. And get sanctioned pledges put up in local bodies like schools, workplaces, banks, etc.
- Make a list of energy consuming devices and fixtures in your home and check it twice every year. Do your faucets leak, are your electronic appliances connected with environment friendly power savers, are your vehicles efficient, do you buy packaged water when it can be internally sourced through a purifier and have you updated your light bulbs yet? Read more on the Cancerous DNA of Air Pollution.
- Refuse plastic.
- Consider turning your yard into a mini-ecosystem for birds and plants. Add utilitarian varieties of vegetables and fruit that you can enjoy over different seasons or things that you can enjoy on a regular basis.
- Plant a tree every year and nurture it until it is good to go on its own.
- Join environment groups to keep yourself actively involved in periodic events that work toward a cleaner and happier future. Local events can be something that both you and your family learn from.
- Teach the kids about the environment by installing a play garden. It’ll help them have fun while getting their hands dirty and falling in love with the environment.
- Organize a community event, do a clean-up, and get together a fair it there isn’t already one.
- If you’re concerned about legislation and municipal affairs of environment reclamation, get in touch with activists, write to the magistrates, try getting some real work done.
- Adopt a highway or a street. There is plenty of public infrastructure that could do with some monitoring. Take a group of friends or volunteers with you to clean up periodically and raise awareness.
- Take the initiative to make sure the workplace is environment friendly. Do some research on recycling and get things started. You could talk to the administration to get a system or culture in place.
- Going on walks and hikes can help you understand and appreciate nature better. It can also remind you of the purpose of going the extra-mile in making a change in the environment.
- Get your goal board out. Make a plan and stick to it. Organized effort always pays off. What do you want to do this year or this month? Make sure you have the resources and support. Try to keep it as logistically feasible as possible so the hassles do not bog you down.
- Sponsor animals at the wildlife reserves. Adopt them and see how you can help pay for care.
- Wear go green clothes that are not toxic to the environment.
- Zone out of World Earth Day. While there are plenty of events and gigs for the very day, consider making every day Earth Day. That way you’re always on an agenda that helps make the world a better place to live in.
A global campaign is hard to pull off considering geo-politics and the sheer scale at which work needs to get done. But going ‘glo-cal’ (a joint word of two words ‘global’ and ‘local’) is still a yes-do. With social media efforts, accessibility of information and better networking, it is easier to harness resources, ideas, people, time, effort and money. Let’s get down to business and get cleaning. After all, ‘Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.”