Although Earth Day is all about community, it’s a much broader community than most of us usually think about. The enormity of the earth’s population and the issues facing it, often make us feel overwhelmed and unsure if we can even make a difference. That’s why it helps to think more locally–starting in your own neighborhood–because the results are both immediate and easily visible.
With this in mind, here are some ways to help improve your own environment and to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.
- Volunteer with or organize a neighborhood Earth Day Clean Up – Many neighborhood or homeowner’s associations already do this so check with them first. To find one, contact city government offices since they usually keep a list of them. Or, contact your local city or county public works department, as they might already have an Earth Day Neighborhood Cleanup planned. Many agencies also provide free dumpsters to use for the cleanup, and might even deliver and pick them up. If not, they can tell you where to find dumpsters. It is also a good source of information for the kinds of trash to put in the dumpsters, about drop-off locations and any other issues or items you might need to include.
- Organize or participate in a Household Hazardous Waste Collection – In most communities, there are regular collection days and in some cases, permanent collection sites. Check with your local public works department/agency to see what they have scheduled and for tips on having your own if there’s not one coming up. To find one already planned, Earth 911 is an online resource that lets you search for recycling sites and events in your area. It includes everything from paint to electronics, and features an event search page that you can search by city or zip code.
- Organize or participate in a Water Cleanup Project at a local beach, stream, or lake – Check with local water agencies, such as the coastal commission or watershed conservation groups, and even your municipal water provider. The Sierra Club has put together a “How To” for organizing your own waterway cleanup. Or, check the list of campaigns and events at the Earth Day 2010 Action Center, like this one in San Diego.
- Take part in a Tree-Planting event – Check the Arbor Day Foundation site. It lists tree-planting activities by state for Arbor Day (which is April 30). But, the list of conservation and environmental organizations participating in the Arbor Day events can direct you to an event for Earth Day as well. You can also get tips on organizing your own event at the site.
- Organize a Public Transit Day and/or Ride Your Bike Or Walk Day- This is something you can do on a large or small scale, and there might even be an organized event already planned for your area. Check out the Public Transportation site for some great stats and facts about public transportation and how to use it on Earth Day. Try to encourage your family, friends, and neighbors to join you in using a bike or walking to commute to school or work and to run errands.