By Ariana Palmieri
What are you doing tomorrow? I’m celebrating Earth Day, and so should you.
Here are some simple ways to celebrate while making a positive impact on the environment.
Plant something simple – like basil or lettuce
Earth Day is the perfect excuse to get your hands covered in dirt. Don’t have a lot of space or a green thumb? Stick to something simple, like basil
or lettuce and you should be fine. To grow basil, all you need is soil, one terra cotta pot, water, and basil seeds (I recommend organic). Place the soil in the pot and then place at least four seeds (depending on the size of the pot) on the soil with enough room to grow (finger width apart should be good). Cover gently with another sprinkling of soil, then water (make sure not to over water! Use your intuition here and avoid making the soil soggy). Within 7-10 days, little seedlings should appear! To grow lettuce, the only extra thing you’ll need is a plastic bag. Take the plastic bag and put it in a terra cotta pot, then fill it up with soil. Sprinkle a bunch of seeds (seriously, use as many as you want) all over the place, then cover lightly with soil and water. Seeds should sprout within 7-10 days. The best part about this is that lettuce and basil are edible! Fresh salad anyone?
Turn off the lights – and save energy
Super simple, right? It’s so easy to forget we’re surrounded by artificial light, even in the day. To limit energy consumption, turn off the lights when you leave a room. Better yet, leave them off and rely solely on natural daylight from your windows. You can even take it one step further by unplugging all the electronics and shutting them off when they’re not in use. Believe it or not, if a plug is in a socket (even if the machine it belongs to isn’t on), it can still leak energy!
Get creative – and reuse your recyclables
Earth Day calls for a little creativity. Whether it’s making a bird feeder from a milk carton or cutting a plastic bottle in half to use as a pencil holder, there are so many ways to reuse plastic, cardboard, paper, and even glass. Did you know most plastic isn’t even recycled, let alone upcycled? By creating something new with plastic, or any recyclable, you can make a change and prevent one more item from being dumped into the ocean. Here are some ways you can upcycle different things and make them into art.
Combat air pollution – and buy local goods
Chances are there’s a farmers market close to you. Take the day to shop fresh, local food. Not only will this produce be free of harmful chemicals, but you’ll be cutting back on air pollution. How you ask? Well, you won’t burn as many fossil fuels to get the produce, and the products won’t have to travel as far to get to you, either. The longer the distance it is from your house, the more energy you or someone else will waste getting. This is true for clothes, beauty products, electronics, home goods, and other possessions too: The farther it has to travel, the more transportation (and gas) it’s going to go through.
Make yourself an organic lunch – and have a picnic outside
Here’s a fun activity you can do with a bunch of friends. Buy a bunch of organic produce from your local grocery store (Whole Foods and Key Food has a lot of organic options) or go to a farmers market. Make a lunch that features spring vegetables so you’re sure to pick the best of the best in produce. Some vegetables that are in season right now are asparagus, artichokes, arugula, beets, carrots, spinach, lettuce, and peas. Some fruits to look out for are strawberries (you definitely want organic ones- regular strawberries rated #1 on the new Dirty Dozen list
!), lemons, navel oranges, kiwis, grapefruit, cherries, and apricots. For more in season fruits and veggies, check this list out
. Once you make your healthy, organic meal (maybe an arugula, lettuce, artichoke heart salad?), set off to find a good spot to picnic under some nice peaceful trees and just enjoy nature! Make sure to avoid one use plastics- take some reusable silverware, cups, and plates with you!