It's that time of year again: Earth Day 2018 is just around the corner (on April 22, to be exact), which means kids in schools everywhere are probably making eco-themed art projects using repurposed materials at this very moment. But Earth Day isn't just for kids — grown-ups can get in on the action, too, and sometimes end up making a real difference in the process. Whether you organize an event to help save the planet or make a small sustainable change, every effort counts. So what are some Earth Day activities for adults who want to do their part?
Every year, Earth Day has a different theme, and the focus for 2018 is "End Plastic Pollution," according to EarthDay.org. As the site explained, it's an incredibly important and timely campaign:
From poisoning and injuring marine life to disrupting human hormones, from littering our beaches and landscapes to clogging our waste streams and landfills, the exponential growth of plastics is now threatening the survival of our planet.
Just this February, for example, a young male sperm whale washed up on the shores of Spain with 65 pounds of plastic in his stomach (including dozens of plastic bags), as Live Science reported; a recent study in the journal Scientific Reports revealed that there are over 87,000 tons of plastic floating what's known as the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch," according to The New York Times.
With those horrifying facts in mind, focusing on curbing your plastic usage might not be a bad place to start this Earth Day! Here are some more ideas to get you going.
1. Clean Up A Local Beach
What gets tossed on the sand ends up in the water! If you happen to live near the seashore, many towns and cities with beaches are hosting clean-up events for Earth Day. Seek out and join a local gathering or, if you can't find one, get a few friends and family members together and hit the beach with a bunch of garbage bags. (Don't forget to wear gloves!)
2. Make The Switch To Reusable Bottles & Bags
It's all too easy to forget to bring your reusable bags to the grocery store or accidentally leave your water bottle at home before you leave for work — seemingly innocent mistakes that unfortunately end up contributing to the plastic problem. To help you keep your vow to break the plastic bag and bottle habit for good, shop for a cool new stainless steel bottle and some cute canvas grocery totes.
3. Go Paperless
Chances are you do most of your bill paying and banking online already, but if you haven't made the official switch to digital on all your accounts, Earth Day is the perfect opportunity to set aside some time and update your affairs. Say goodbye to that overstuffed mailbox!
4. Throw A Sustainable Dinner Party
Hit up the farmer's market and invite some of your eco-conscious pals over for a meal that's prepared exclusively with locally sourced produce and other ingredients. Just be sure to nix the disposable plates, plastic cups, and paper napkins (try telling your guests that by helping you to wash the dishes, they're saving the planet).
5. Donate Unwanted Items
Whether you've got a closet full of clothes your kids have outgrown or a chest of drawers that doesn't match your new decor, don't haul off your unwanted stuff to the city dump. Instead, donate it to a charity like Goodwill or The Salvation Army so it doesn't go to waste (you'll be helping others and the planet).
6. Go Vegan For The Day
Giving up meat, dairy, and eggs isn't just good for your health, it's good for the planet, too. As Fortune reported, a study published in the journal Climate Change found that “the production of animal-based foods is associated with higher greenhouse gas emissions than plant-based foods," and the Environmental Defense Fund reported that if every American switched out chicken for plant-based foods at one meal per week, "the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off U.S. roads."
Every little bit really does help!
7. Netflix And Save The Planet
Looking to low-key learn about what you can do to help protect the Earth? Luckily, there's no lack of excellent documentaries on the subject available for streaming, from Mission Blue, a Netflix original documentary about a famous oceanographer named Sylvia Earle, to Chasing Ice, an Emmy award-winning doc about disappearing glaciers, to What the Health, a terrifying follow-up to the Leonardo DiCaprio-backed Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret that just might put you off pork forever.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.