Earth Day is this week and it’s the perfect time to be thinking about what you can be doing for the earth and environment. If you don’t know where to start, we’re sharing 50 easy eco-actions to get you started and keep you going. But first, let’s take a quick look at what Earth Day is all about!
What is Earth Day?
Earth day is a global movement and day for environmental awareness and action. Slowly this day has expanded to cover multiple days and April is often referred to as “Earth Month.”
This year, Earth Day 2021 is on Thursday April 22nd with live events happening from April 20 – 22. Check out their events here: https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2021/
A bit of Earth Day’s History
Earth day has a rich history spanning over 50 years.
Earth Day began back in 1970, initiated by a junior senator from Wisconsin named Gaylord Nelson. Concerned about the state of the environment, Nelson recruited others to join him to organize college sit ins on the topic. One of the people Nelson brought on board was activist Denis Hayes, who began promoting events across the USA on what then became known as “Earth Day.”
The stage was set for change with the publication of Rachel Carson’s New York Times bestseller Silent Spring in 1962. The book represented a watershed moment, selling more than 500,000 copies in 24 countries as it raised public awareness and concern for living organisms, the environment and the inextricable links between pollution and public health.EarthDay.org
The first Earth Day had 20-million Americans participating in events and demonstrations. By the end of 1970, the impact of Earth Day could be seen in the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of other environmental laws.
Have a look at some retro news coverage from 1970 in this CBS news clip with Walter Cronkite:
By 1990, Earth Day went global and to date over 1-billion people have been mobilized to take action for our earth.
Take Action for Earth Day with these 50 Ideas
Even small actions make a difference! And there are small actions you can take in every area of your life. Here are 50 eco-actions you can easily do in order to make a difference this Earth Day (and every day!).
Eco-Actions for Food and Meals
- Plan a “Leftovers for Dinner” meal night to prevent food waste.
- Cook dinner at home and skip the take out containers.
- Have a Meatless Monday meal night. Maybe try chickpeas?
- Buy food from Flashfood to help reduce food waste.
- Buy in season local fruits and vegetables. Read more in our post about why buying in season is a good thing.
- Buy loose fruits and vegetables instead of plastic bagged ones.
- Bring your own cutlery and say no to disposables.
- Shop your fridge to use up food–and prevent food waste–before going to the grocery store.
- Ask for your drink without a plastic straw and use your own reusable one.
- Bring your reusable water bottle or cup with you.
- Plant some herbs on your windowsill.
- Cook your next meal using a small appliance, such as an Instant Pot or toaster oven, instead of your oven.
- Preserve food before it goes bad, such as by freezing it. Check out some unexpected foods you can freeze in our post: 20 Unexpected Foods you can Freeze.
- Use vegetable scraps to make vegetable broth. Find the instructions and details in our post: Easy Vegetable Broth.
Eco-Actions for Shopping and Errands
- Walk or ride a bike for your next errand.
- Take a reusable shopping bag with you. Keep a few in your car/purse/backpack so you don’t forget!
- Combine all your errands in one trip to minimize distance travelled by car.
- Shop at a second hand store.
- Borrow an item from a friend instead of buying the item new.
- Shop your closet instead of a store or borrow the item you need from a friend.
- Buy an item in bulk instead of prepackaged.
- Buy a soap bar instead of a liquid version in a plastic bottle, such as shampoo, body wash, dish soap. Find some plastic free, low waste inspiration here: Plastic Free Bathroom.
- Choose a product with sustainable packaging, like a glass jar you can reuse. Check out our post for inspiration on how to reuse your glass jars.
- Join your local Buy Nothing group and start being a part of the share economy.
- Turn off your car instead of letting it idle.
- Use public transportation instead of driving for your next outing.
- Try shopping at a local refillery or zero waste shop.
Eco-Actions for the Home and Yard
- Keep your lights off and use natural light.
- Hang dry your next load of laundry.
- Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth.
- Cut your shower short by one minute.
- Use cloth napkins instead of paper ones.
- Use towels or rags instead of paper towel.
- Make an eco-friendly cleaner–as easy as mixing a 1:1 ratio of vinegar to water. See also our Kitchen DIY post for more options.
- Let your dandelions grow to support the bees.
- Plant a pollen rich flower in your yard (or get a potted plant for your entranceway/deck/window).
- Let your grass grow weeds and wildflowers at the edge of your yard.
- Make or buy a Mason Bee hotel for your garden. Here are some tips on how to choose the right one from the David Suzuki Foundation: Choose the Best Mason Bee Home.
- Water your plants with leftover black coffee or water from boiling your potatoes.
Eco-Actions for your Lifestyle
- Plant some trees. Get Offset has options from $5/month.
- Donate to an environmental charity or cause. Welfact has vetted charities that you can trust.
- Wrap the next present you give in an eco-friendly way. Find some ideas here: Eco Friendly Gift Wrap.
- Unsubscribe from mailing lists to reduce paper waste.
- Unsubscribe from unwanted emails to minimize electronic waste.
- Reuse any one item before discarding it. For some inspiration, check out or post 3 Items I Always Reuse.
- Wash containers before placing them in the recycle bin to increase their chances of being recycled.
- Create a note pad with scrap paper and backs of envelopes to reuse them before recycling them.
- Watch and learn from environmental documentaries, such as Seaspiracy on Netflix.
- Sign an environmental petition. Change.org has many to choose from.
- Write to your local politician and let them know what environmental actions are needed for your community. Find a list of BC MLAs here.