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April 22 marks Earth Day each year--and social distancing doesn’t have to prevent your participation. You may not be able to attend a group tree planting or beach cleanup this year, but there are plenty of other ways to celebrate our planet. Here are 10 easy ways to honor Earth Day from your own home.
1. Plant a seed.
Does your family have a vegetable garden or even some flower beds that need tending? Weather permitting, grab a trowel and start working on your green thumb. Spring is the perfect time to plant and gardening can be a fun activity whether you’re going solo or with a buddy. If the rain keeps you inside, consider filling a windowsill planter with herbs or other house-friendly plants.
2. Create a compost bin.
Be efficient with your food scraps and create or buy a compost bin. Compost is an easy way to get rid of waste without actually wasting it. Instead of creating more refuse at a landfill, you’ll end up with some great fertilizer.
3. Shoot for the stars.
We may have cloud cover this week, but if we luck out with a clear night, make sure to hop outside for some stargazing. We’re in the midst of the Lyrid meteor shower, so your chances for spotting a shooting star are high!
4. Become a local expert.
Go for a walk this week and keep your eyes peeled for native plants. Use a site like Native Plant Finder or apps like iNaturalist or PlantSnap to identify and learn about plants in our local area.
5. Catch the Earth Day Network livestream.
The Earth Day Network, one of the largest organizations associated with Earth Day, will be livestreaming activities, musicians, and speakers between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. PDT on April 22. If you’re interested in environmental activism or global climate politics, this event is for you!
6. Grab some local produce.
The next time your family needs fresh produce, run to a farmer’s market or stand instead of the big box grocery store. Buying locally sourced produce is not only better for the environment, it’s better for the local economy. Support our farmers and small business owners by shopping small. Some local favorites include EZ Orchards and Aspinwall’s--and most are offering delivery and curbside pickup!
7. Utilize as many reusable items as you can.
Hydro flasks are more than just essential Oregonian accessories. Challenge yourself to use as many reusable items and products as you can throughout the day. Drink from reusable water bottles, store food in Mason jars or Tupperware instead of plastic baggies, and take cloth grocery bags to the store with you. (Just remember that most stores are making you bag your own groceries if you bring your reusable bags!)
8. Be conscious of your water use.
Water conservation isn’t a new concept, but it can be a difficult one to implement in your own household. Try to take a shorter shower or be conscious about leaving the faucet on while washing dishes in the sink. Even better? See if you can identify and fix any leaks in the house. According to the EPA, the average household can waste up to 180 gallons of water per week due to leaky appliances. Take care of the planet and make your parents happy about a smaller water bill, all in one fell swoop.
9. Choose your wheels wisely.
We’re all doing our best to stay home as much as possible. But sometimes, you or a family member inevitably has to make a grocery or essential items run. If you live close enough (and the Oregon weather permits!), consider riding your bike or taking a walk to your local store. Exercise and environmental benefits? It’s a win-win.
10. Read up on recycling rules.
When our county recycling restrictions changed, many residents were confused about what could and couldn’t be tossed in their recycling bins--and many still are. It’s important to only toss permitted recyclables into your bin so that the whole load isn’t sorted as trash. Visit your sanitation company’s website for the exact guidelines regarding recycling. Here’s one such handy guide, provided by Loren’s Sanitation.