April 22nd 2016 is the 46th annual Earth Day run by the Earth Day Network. It is a day to celebrate our great planet and give back to the environment we live in.
The Earth Day Network’s mission is “to broaden and diversify the environmental movement worldwide and to mobilise it as the most effective vehicle to build a healthy, sustainable environment, address climate change, and protect the earth for future generations.” A reported 1 billion people take part in the day each year in some way. The Earth Day Network says this makes it “the largest civic observance in the world.”
It’s easy to get involved. Embrace the ethos and principals of this great cause by taking these 12 impactful and inspiring steps towards a happier and healthier earth, one for each month of the year. Every action, no matter how large or how small can and will make a difference.
12 ways to celebrate Earth Day year-round
April – Getting green
The focus for 2016’s Earth Day is Trees for the Earth, combating climate change through vegetation and growth. Get those green thumbs working by planting a tree in your backyard or getting involved in your local community garden or planting projects.
May – Insulation
Before we enter the winter months, now is a good time to consider heating, insulation and also blocking any draughts that might be making their way through cracks beneath doors and windows. To do this, why not make your own door snake to block any open crevices and limit heat transfer.
June – Hot water
Hot water systems chew up a whole lot of power, so try to reduce usage or where possible, cut it out altogether. This can be achieved by shaving a couple of minutes off your morning shower or simply switching your washing machine to the cold wash setting.
July – Ditch the plastic
Rid yourself of wasteful and damaging plastic bags by using reusable shopping bags. If you forget to bring your bags to the shops and do need to revert back to the plastic variety, keep them stowed away at home for use at a later date or emergency garbage bags if you run out!
August – Go meat free
In their article ’15 Ways to Go Green on Earth Day’ active wear brand Lorna Jane suggests we adopt a meat-free day into our weekly cooking repertoire. According to Meatless Monday the benefits to our own health, wallets and the health of our planet are plentiful, including less water wastage, a smaller carbon footprint and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.
September – Spring cleaning appliances
As you conduct the annual spring clean, you may like to consider replacing older whitegoods and appliances for newer and more energy efficient alternatives. Many old appliances aren’t designed with power saving in mind (to today’s standards), so opting for a newer alternative by upgrading could be a good step in the right direction. And while the upfront cost may make a dent, the savings over time and environmental benefits could make it all worth the while.
October – Watching that water
National Water Week seeks to improve the lives of people around the world by promoting the protection, rehabilitation and improvement of water provision globally. The week-long event helps remind people that water is a precious resource without which we cannot survive.
If you’d like to take your water saving to the next level, always turn off taps that are running needlessly, make sure your fixtures and fitting are water efficient, make sure your irrigation system is adjusted for the weather, and fix any leaks straight away.
November – Reduce waste and recycle
If you’re not already in a good recycling routine, Recycling Week from the 7th-13th is the time to make a change! This practice can be adopted in the kitchen with food packaging, bottles and cardboard boxes and also by finding practical ways to repurpose and reuse neglected household items. For more inspiration read our guide on 15 ways to recycle, repurpose and reuse your way around the home.
If you’re feeling extra motivated to take care of mother earth, why not see out recycling week by taking part in National Walk to Work Day on the 13th too.
December – Volunteering your time
December 5th is International Volunteering Day, so what better time of year to give some of your time to a good cause. The event celebrates the efforts of volunteers, sharing their values and showcasing the difference they make in their communities. Get inspired in the festive season and join the 6 million Aussies who already give their time to help the earth.
January – Laundry learnings
Select cold water washes over hot, maximize your dryer time, plan washing days around the weather conditions; these are but some of the ways you can be more energy efficient and less wasteful when doing your washing. Of course, this is much easier in certain parts of the country at certain times of the year. Let your local conditions be the guide on this one.
February – Buy local or grow your own
Support local producers by buying local food this month. Or save money (and the trip to the grocery store) by growing your own. February is the ideal time to start weeding, mulching and planning what to plant ready for spring says SGAonline.org.au. In warmer climates you could give leeks, capsicum and corn a go, and in colder areas Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower could be winners.
March – Clean up your act
Clean Up Australia Day is a volunteering organisation that ask people to give their time to help with the annual Clean Up. Clean up Australia Day is held early in March each year, but they have opportunities year round if you can’t make it. Check out their Facebook page for the latest.
Also in March, Earth Hour encourages people to switch everything off for one hour at 8:30 local time. This organisation has its roots in Sydney, but the initiative soon went global being celebrated in 172 countries and 700 cities worldwide in recent years. To take part, all you have to do it turn off all electrical appliances at the allotted time.
Making a difference one month at a time
While one day of action each year can make a huge difference, imagine the impact we could have if we are actively adopting Earth Day principals throughout the coming year, and years to come? Why not take change into your own hands today.