9 Ways to Help the Environment on Earth Day (& Every Day!)

two hands planting a small tree in the grown for Earth Day

Every year, Earth Day seems to sneak up on us. Unless you’re plan­ning ahead, it’s (sad­ly) eas­i­ly for­got­ten until the day or week of, mak­ing it too late to join a big beach cleanup or feel like you’re doing some­thing worth­while in hon­or of the hol­i­day. Fear not! There are plen­ty of sim­ple, yet impact­ful ways to help out Moth­er Earth, even if you’re a lit­tle late to the game. Plus, these easy ideas on how to help the envi­ron­ment are not reserved just for Earth Day; you can make a dif­fer­ence any time and feel good doing it.

A lush, organic community garden that is good for the Earth and communities

1. Volunteer at your local community garden or farmer’s market

Com­mu­ni­ty gar­dens have been shown to make a huge­ly pos­i­tive impact on the health of com­mu­ni­ties and the envi­ron­ment. On top of increas­ing bio­di­ver­si­ty, improv­ing air and soil qual­i­ty, and pro­vid­ing access to fresh foods, they’re also pos­i­tive­ly cor­re­lat­ed with decreased neigh­bor­hood crime rates.

Get­ting involved is easy, as these gar­dens can often use some extra hands. Many cities have gov­ern­ment spon­sored com­mu­ni­ty gar­den­ing and farmer’s mar­ket pro­grams. A quick Google search should do the trick. Even if you can’t get start­ed ASAP, the act of sign­ing up is a pos­i­tive step in the right direc­tion. Below are pro­grams for major cities in our deliv­ery zones.

NYC’s Grow Program

Philly’s Hor­ti­cul­tur­al Society

San Fran­cis­co’s Recre­ation and Parks department

Closeup of trash (bottles, masks) littered in a park where people will be doing a trash cleanup project

2. Pick up trash around your neighborhood

It’s quite lit­er­al­ly as easy as walk­ing out­side and pick­ing up trash. Grab a trash bag or a large reusable bag, gloves, and a pick-up stick if you want to get fan­cy. Bring your head­phones and throw on your favorite music or pod­cast and you have your­self an after­noon. We promise it won’t look weird and you won’t be judged. In fact, peo­ple might even get the idea to do their own cleanup. Bonus points if you grab friends or fam­i­ly to join in.

New York Times front page marking a historical Earth Day in 1970

3. Get educated

You don’t have to phys­i­cal­ly do any­thing to con­tribute to a bet­ter envi­ron­men­tal future if that’s not your thing. Edu­cat­ing your­self and oth­ers is half the bat­tle! The more aware­ness there is, the more change can be made. Just look at how Earth Day start­ed. Once you edu­cate your­self make sure to spread the word! Word of mouth goes far.

Ways to get started

  • Learn how to recy­cle properly
  • Look up con­sump­tion sta­tis­tics and habits in the U.S.
  • Research how you can make small changes in your dai­ly life
  • Read about envi­ron­men­tal caus­es and movements
  • Search social media for envi­ron­men­tal info (Tik­Tok is always a goldmine)
Closeup of hand washing with the faucet on, showing how not to save water

4. Take baby steps at home

Change does­n’t hap­pen overnight. If you want to live a more envi­ron­men­tal­ly-friend­ly lifestyle, switch­ing up every­thing you do or buy right away isn’t the most effi­cient strat­e­gy. Try mak­ing one or two small changes at a time, ful­ly inte­grat­ing them into your rou­tine, then adding more. For exam­ple, you can start by aim­ing to use less water by turn­ing off the sink while brush­ing your teeth, using one tub of soapy water for hand-wash­ing dish­es, and mak­ing show­ers quick­er. From there, you could buy a water-sav­ing show­er head, hire some­one to check for leaks, or even buy a more effi­cient toi­let. Check out these ideas for more sus­tain­able swaps.

Environmental protest and petition

5. Sign a petition

This one’s anoth­er way to make a change with­out mov­ing a mus­cle. Find envi­ron­men­tal caus­es you can get behind and look up ways to sup­port those caus­es through peti­tions. Sup­port for impor­tant caus­es dri­ves the momen­tum that cre­ates change—it’s not noth­ing. These three web­sites are a good place to start: change.org, epa.gov, and edf.org.

Reusable products—bottles, utensils and bags laid out to make reusable swaps

6. Buy reusable products

Swap­ping out your cur­rent prod­ucts for reusable ones is a great way to make a change. From bathing to clean­ing to beau­ty prod­ucts; just think of all the plas­tic con­tain­ers that get thrown out on a month­ly basis. In the past few years, com­pa­nies have adopt­ed reusables in a big way, mean­ing it’s much eas­i­er to find a great alter­na­tive that actu­al­ly works for you. Take stock of what you have that could be swapped by mak­ing a list of all the prod­ucts you use. From there, pick a few and start research­ing the best eco-friend­ly alternatives.

Once again, the key is to start small and work your way up. For exam­ple, if you want to switch out your dish soap and clean­ing sup­plies for refill­able, eco-friend­ly options, wait until they’re emp­ty and switch them out then. This cre­ates a more nat­ur­al exchange that you’re like­ly to keep up with long term.

Young, happy woman helping the environment by biking to work

7. Walk or bike when you can

This option is what we call a win-win—helping the envi­ron­ment and get­ting some exer­cise in. The aver­age car emits around 4.6 met­ric tons of car­bon diox­ide per year. By bik­ing or walk­ing to the store just once a week, you’ll save .67 tons in car­bon diox­ide a year.

Close up of a woman donating to an environmental cause on her computer as a way to help the environment

8. Donate to an environmental cause

Put your mon­ey where your mouth is! Research envi­ron­men­tal caus­es that you can get behind and start mak­ing peri­od­ic dona­tions when you can. (Anoth­er win-win, since dona­tions are tax deductible). Here are a few options.

A bowl of food scraps saved is a way to help the environment

9. Waste less food

Over 30% of the U.S. food sup­ply is wast­ed. That’s $161 bil­lion worth of food that could have gone to good use. In 2010, each per­son wast­ed an aver­age of 218.9 pounds of food. That’s about a month and a half’s worth of food. Food waste is an issue that’s often over­looked, but could be man­aged with a lit­tle effort. 

Try these techniques to waste less food

  • Plan out your meals a week ahead of time
  • Buy less at the gro­cery store and return as need­ed (bonus points if you walk there!)
  • Take stock of the foods you con­sis­tent­ly throw out and make a point to buy less of those
  • Swap some pro­teins and veg­gies for frozen alter­na­tives. There are high-qual­i­ty, nutri­tious frozen items in every store.
  • Find cre­ative ways to use food scraps and items that are going bad. Wilt­ing greens? Throw them into a juicer with cucum­ber, apple and lemon! Toss­ing a lot of fruit and veg­etable peels? Try composting. 

These are just a few ways to help the envi­ron­ment and make a change. Once you start, you’ll keep find­ing more. What oth­er ways do you help make a pos­i­tive envi­ron­men­tal impact? Drop them in the com­ments, we love to see it!

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