Once again Earth Day is here and we become painfully aware of the environmental and climate change issues surrounding us. We wonder how and where we can start taking action. Why not start this weekend on Earth Day 2017. Earth Day was first conceived in 1970, when environmental activist and Wisconsin (USA) senator, Gaylord Nelson became concerned about the state of the environment due to rapid industrialisation. His concern launched a new wave of environmental awareness, activism and the establishment of Earth Day as an annual event on the 22nd of April.
In 1970, when the first Earth Day was celebrated, it was USA-centric, involving two thousand colleges and universities. It included primary and secondary schools as well as numerous communities across the United States. Back then 20 million Americans participated in the event. Now, in 2017, Earth Day is an annual and global initiative with over 190 countries getting in on the action. So this year, get out there and share some love for our planet!
Here are our top tips on how to celebrate Earth Day!
If you are one of the millions who want to take action and help do your part on our little red dot (Singapore) or anywhere on this planet, look no further. Here are some easy ideas to take on board for Earth Day, Saturday, 22nd of March (we hope that you’ll incorporate these ideas into your everyday life as well).
- Leave your car at home for the day. Or if you want to make a more permanent change, start with leaving your car home for just one or two days a week. Car-pool with someone, take a bus, do something different – always good to break daily routine habits. You will probably realise how car reliant you are. Get healthier and allow the earth to breathe a bit better.
- Don’t take a (long) shower! (Ewuu!) Yep, in fact skip it if you can. Some germs are good for your immunity and you will save a fair bit on water. Most of you are aware of the water tax in Singapore and should have received that letter from the Public Utilities Board. Expect your water bills to be higher than they have been, despite you using less.
- One of the biggest events on the island for Earth Day is the Nat Geo Earth Day Run on Sunday, 23 April 2017, a run organised by National Geographic.
“This year’s Nat Geo Earth Day Run 2017 in Singapore serves to protect our planet through renewable energy consumption, reducing waste and lowering participants’ carbon footprint.” – National Geographic
The race allows participants to commit to one green action per day to earn points. This can be exchanged for green dollars or merchandise that can be utilised during the event. It encourages runners to take public transportation and reduce air pollution, have cold showers, cut down on food waste, use fans instead of air-conditioners and bring their own reusable bag wherever they go.
- Change to e-statements. It may seem obvious but so many of us have done this for one bank account and not for the twenty other places that keep sending us paper statements. Say no to more junk mail! You’ll feel good for months after with no paper guilt to haunt you.
- Plan an activity with your friends. Upcycle! Creatively re-use old t-shirts, bottles and unwanted products to make crafts, new items and gifts without adding to the crazy consumerism we are drowning in. My personal favourite is turning old tees into cotton bags for weekend use. My kids favourite is to make sock elephants. Look no further than Pinterest, the ideas are endless and so fun! You can also see how to upcycle a T-shirt into a cuddly keepsake on ordinarypeople.ink.
- Plant a tree. Again, this may seem so obvious, but how many of us have actually done it? This half-hour Earth Day contribution will last for years if the tree is in your backyard (or balcony).
- Volunteer or attend meaningful events this day to show your support. Look for fun stuff in your neighbourhood, get started and think of it as a great way to meet like-minded people.
- Celebrate Singapore’s Biodiversity. There are a bunch of activities that are being held around Singapore. Some of these take place all year round! Try a guided mangrove tour at Sungei Buloh or bring your kids for walk through the Botanic Gardens or Macritchie Reservoir, both are fave spots for my boys. Your children will learn about the importance of trees and what we can do to protect the environment. More information can be found at the National Parks website.
- Support organisations and foundations that do work in order to create meaningful change on our planet. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) just came out with a report this week (18 April 2017) which reveals that poaching, illegal logging and fishing are threatening endangered species in some of the world’s most iconic natural sites. Support a cause and own it.
Most importantly, don’t forget to spread the word and share your personal stories to save the environment and our home. Send us your experiences at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear them and share them if we can!