Celebrate Earth Day At Home

In this time of global health concern we are all spending more time at home and likely thinking more about how our environment (natural and built) impacts our daily lives. This Wednesday, April 22nd, is the 50th Earth Day.

celebrate earth day at home

The first Earth Day, celebrated in 1970, was organized to raise awareness about oil spills, air and water pollution, toxic dumps, and loss of wildlife and wilderness. That first Earth Day contributed to the formation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and legislation such as the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Endangered Species Act. The first Earth Day was much more politically-driven than those in recent years. Most years groups around the United States organize community tree plantings, recycling events, and environmental awareness activities.

This year, most of us will celebrate Earth Day at home. Here are some simple things we all can do to be more eco-friendly every day, and raise our spirits in a time of uncertainty.

  1. Plant a garden – Maybe this is your year to plant a garden, growing some of your own food to reduce your food miles. Try containers for small patios or yards. Include some flowers for a cutting garden. Another option is to join in a local farm’s community supported agriculture (CSA) program.
  2. Compost food scraps and yard waste.
  3. Follow the 3 Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle):
    • Reduce Avoid using single-use, disposable items like paper plates, cups, napkins, and utensils. This is much easier while we eat most meals at home, but try to create a new habit to avoid disposable items in the future. Also, avoid purchasing items with lots of packaging, which is usually wasted.
    • Reuse Find new uses for household items (upcycle) or share them with a friend – avoid sending things to the landfill as much as possible.
    • Recycle If you can’t reuse it or compost it, look for opportunities to recycle in your area. (Learn more about Oldham County Recycling.)
  4. Explore a natural area close to your home. Many of Kentucky’s nature preserves are still open for hiking, as long as you practice appropriate social distancing. Learn more about wildflowers while you are out and about. Garrard County 4-H‘s “On the Ground” series is a fabulous way to learn about Kentucky’s native wildflowers.
  5. Take care of our water resources. Planting along your backyard stream or neighborhood pond/lake will help reduce erosion, protect water quality, and improve the beauty of your landscape. Learn more about all things water in Kentucky on the KYH2O podcast.
  6. Conserve water at home. (Read more about Oldham County Groundwater Conservation.)
  7. Conduct your own litter cleanup. Grab some trash bags, sturdy gloves and boots, and pick up litter along the streets and roads close to your house. Litter can create hazards for livestock, wildlife, and our waterways.
  8. Plant a native Kentucky tree. And learn more about Kentucky’s woodlands on the From the Woods podcast. (Read more about Native Kentucky Fruit Trees.)
  9. Save energy by turning out lights when you leave the room, unplug electronics when not in use, and switch to energy-efficient appliances when it’s time to replace old ones.
  10. Check out non-profit organizations with eco-friendly missions that align with your values. One water-focused organization is sponsoring Earth Day at Home this year.

celebrate earth day at home

Written by Amanda Gumbert, UK Extension Water Quality Specialist, and edited by Lauren Fernandez, Oldham County Extension Program Assistant.

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