The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970 and each year since is commemorated on April 22. One billion people across the planet celebrate through actionable events. Those actions are taken individually and corporately, as more than 190 countries are represented each year during the celebration. The original purpose of Earth Day was to give “voice to an emerging public consciousness about the state of our planet.”1 The masses have stayed true to the original purpose, taking on many environmental concerns and issues. The first Earth Day celebration lead to the founding of the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Small steps can make a big difference, especially when combined with the billions of others around the world who are also making strides towards conservation. Will you celebrate Earth Day 2021? If so, it’s easy to become involved in helping to save the planet.
The suggestions below will start you down the road toward actionable steps.
According to National Geographic, marine pollution is a growing problem. Two types of pollution are helping to destroy marine life; chemical runoff and trash. The chemical runoff and trash that is thrown into the nation’s waterways, ultimately end up in the ocean. Chemical runoff often results in algae bloom, which is dangerous to wildlife and humans. Trash also poses a threat to both wildlife and humans.
Marine life can become tangled up in the refuse. Additionally, fish and other marine organisms consume the trash. When small marine organisms swallow tiny amounts of plastic, also known as microplastics, the chemicals from the plastic are transferred into the organism’s tissues. Following up the food chain, bigger fish eat the smaller organisms and the transference that alters tissue continues, eventually, becoming dangerous to humans.2 What can you do?
Remember, small steps can make a huge difference
1. In the short term, if going to the beach, bring a plastic bag and collect trash along the way. Bring gloves and begin picking up plastic and other trash that’s been left along your walk. True, thoughtless humans will return, but the trash you pick up on Earth Day will not be added to the pollution that lands in the ocean.
In the long term, don’t throw trash into water ways and always clean up after yourself when picnicking, camping or playing water sports along rivers, streams, creek beds, canals, etc.
2. You’ve heard that the “pen is mightier than the sword,” well for your purposes on Earth Day, turn your words into an effective social media post. Armed with research, find your voice and educate those within your sphere of influence on the importance of conservation. Don’t resort to speech that is denigrating. Simply deliver a few facts that will encourage your friends, family and colleagues to take steps toward creating a better tomorrow, through actionable steps on Earth Day and throughout the rest of the year.
3. The state of forestry in the United States is more stable than it was a few years ago, but there are remaining challenges. Drought is a huge concern, as are invasive species and wildfire,3 all of which result in the loss of trees, which in turn, compromises the quality of the air we breathe. Estimates indicate, that across the United States, trees in urban districts remove nearly 800,000 tons of pollution every year and can also assist with controlling storm water and for shade during the hot summer months.4
Planting a tree on Earth Day will contribute positively to the environment. You can plant a tree in your own backyard or contribute to the Canopy Project,5 where every dollar plants a tree in a deforested area on the planet.
The trees are nursery grown for six to twelve months, before being transferred to planting sites. A single dollar is all it takes to celebrate Earth Day by planting a sapling through EARTHDAY.ORG’s Canopy Project.
4. Americans are discarding their trash along the nation’s highways and byways, to the tune of 51 billion pieces of litter each year.6 If that weren’t disgusting enough, the average number of items thrown out of vehicles per mile is 6,729, with tobacco products leading the pack (No pun intended). Cigarette butts and cigarette packaging are scattered across the country’s roads.
As a family, help clean up one of America’s roads near you this Earth Day. Keep safety in mind when picking up litter. Ask the waste authority in your local area if needed on how to properly dispose of the larger trash items. Wear light clothing, a fluorescent traffic vest, gloves, and don’t forget your mask.
When Earth Day has passed, you might consider adopting the same road or another. Volunteers can make an agreement with the Department of Transportation7 to adopt a two mile stretch of roadway to regularly remove litter and not just on Earth Day.
5. Here’s something you may not have considered before; Ninety-seven percent of the earth’s water is salt, leaving only three percent for drinking. Additionally, only 0.5% of the earth’s fresh water is accessible/available as drinking water. Conserving water helps to preserve what is available to us.
Conserve water on Earth Day and every day of the year to help minimize drought and water shortages. Don’t let water run without a purpose, which is wasteful.
To celebrate Earth Day, you could begin the process of preserving and conserving water by installing low flow showerheads and toilets. The installation will save water over time and with each flush.
Be intentional regarding the times at which you water the lawn. Don’t water the grass or plants in the heat of the day. The water will be lost to evaporation. Water during the very early morning hours or late at night. Planting drought hearty foliage on Earth Day is another way to help conserve water for the rest of the year.
FPL Home helps to keep your home healthy, to run smoothly and happily. We hope that Earth Day 2021 will also move us closer to securing a healthier planet.
*FPL Home is an unregulated subsidiary of Florida Power & Light Company (FPL). The home warranty plans are offered and administered by FPL Home, Florida license #E099597, and not FPL, and are provided by Lyndon Southern Insurance Company (FL Lic. No.: FL-03698). The home warranty plans are service plans and not warranties. Please refer to the full home warranty plan provisions for complete information including details of benefits, coverage, specific exclusions, arbitration provisions, class action waivers, conditions and limitations.
** Appliances Warranty Plus and Home Warranty Plus are brand names of the service plans and are not warranties.