Each year on April 22nd, we celebrate the earth and the environment. However, not many people know how it all began. In 1970, Gaylord Nelson, then US Senator from Wisconsin, wanted to draw national attention to a growing concern over the deterioration of the environment. As a bipartisan effort, Nelson brought together a team of people from across the country to plan and promote Earth Day events. He called it a “teach-in” since many of the first people involved were students and universities. According to the Earth Day Network, the first Earth Day drew more than 20 million Americans from coast to coast for rallies, protests, and events. Since then, these activities have only grown.
As we celebrate another Earth Day next weekend, let’s make it more than just a post on social media or a passing mention of the environment. We put together a short list of tips to help you make this Earth Day your best yet. Get out and enjoy a forest, plant a tree, or do any combination of these things.
On behalf of NYLCV and NYLCVEF, Happy Earth Day!
1. Go for a hike or get outside!
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Get outside! Go for a hike, a walk, or a picnic. Want some suggestions? Check out our previous Green Tip on exploring New York State parks in Harlem. Invite friends or family to experience it with you!
2. Visit a community garden
Community gardens are becoming a thing! Find one near you and volunteer your time, and keep it on your radar for summertime. Eating locally sourced food in Harlem is a great way to cut down on your carbon footprint and grow your local economy. Check out New York State’s Department of Agriculture and Market’s map of community gardens.
3. Get a home energy audit
Knowledge is power, and there are tons of things you can do to cut down your energy use at home. The Energy Department actually offers a great beginners video for how to do your own energy audit.
4. Clean out your house, garage, or closet & donate
Spring-cleaning is seldom a favorite activity, but we all like the results, and we all need to do it at some point or another. Instead of throwing away old appliances and clothes, consider donating them to the Salvation Army or another thrift store.
5. Write your representative
Take action and let your representatives know that you care about the environment, and so should they! Find out who your representative is by going here. Want to know more about environmental issues at the national level, check out NYLCV’s 2017 Federal Agenda.
6. Attend an Earth Day event or festival.
There’s no shortage of celebrations going on the next couple weeks. Do you live in the NYC area? Timeout put together a pretty good list of Earth Day events here. NYLCVEF is going to be at New York City’s Car Free Earth Day on Saturday, April 21st raising awareness about our new campaign for electric school buses. If you’re there, you should check us out! We’re going to be set up by Herald Square.
7. Go vegetarian for the day
Too much red meat is not only unhealthy for you but it’s also bad for the environment. From the way it is produced to the way it is transported, red meat contributes a lot of carbon to the atmosphere. Celebrate Earth Day by going meat-free! Check out this great list of vegetarian dinner recipes for inspiration.
8. Ride your bike or use public transit instead of driving.
This one is pretty straightforward. Vehicle emissions make up about 30% of our greenhouse gases. Cutting down on driving can help. Don’t believe us? Check this out.
9. Do your part to reduce plastic pollution
This year, the Earth Day theme is to End Plastic Pollution. What can you do? Use a reusable grocery bag, water bottle, or coffee cup. Want to learn more about the campaign? Check out Earth Day Network here.
10. Join an environmental group or organization
As the saying goes, “Earth Day should be every day.” Why not join a group that’s committed to environmental protection and fighting climate change year round? You’ll be able to stay informed, get involved, and support causes that make a real difference.
And get your Harlem World Gear Earth Day t-shirt here.