7 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day Without Planting a Tree

Don’t get me wrong – I love planting trees, and Earth Day is the perfect time to do it. But if you’ve already planted enough trees to populate a whole forest, or don’t have room to plant anything where you live, you can still celebrate Earth Day in ways that will make a difference and be fun, too. Here are my 7 ideas. What are yours?

1) Clean out your closets and drawers. Only 14% of all clothing is recycled. And that’s a lost environmental opportunity, given how many natural resources are embedded into every t-shirt, dress, and pair of jeans we wear. Why not use Earth Day to go through your closets and drawers and pull out everything you no longer use or like? Probably, most of it is in fine condition and would be gladly worn by someone else. Bag it up and drop it off at a nearby thrift store; have Goodwill pick it up; or check with a homeless shelter to see what they can use.

2) Take your lunch to work. Most people like the idea of taking their lunch to work. In reality, many of us still run out at noon to the nearest fast food place to grab a sandwich or salad that’s packaged in plastic and paper we just throw away. On Earth Day, start a new habit of taking your lunch to work, using reusable containers and a lunch bag you can tuck in your purse, briefcase or backpack. Bonus: taking your lunch is much cheaper than buying lunch out, so you’ll be greener and save some green, too.

3) Recycle your e-waste. Old computers, monitors, PDA’s, phones, tablets, notebooks and fax machines are the fastest growing component of the solid waste stream. These things should never been thrown away; the heavy metals in the circuit boards can contaminate groundwater, and those metals and the other components electronics are made from can be substantially recycled. On Earth Day, round up all the unused or broken electronics in your home, wipe their memories clean, then cart them off to Best Buy, Office Depot, Staples or another store in your community that recycles electronic waste at no cost to the owner.

4) Share and swap. What do you have that someone else could borrow so they don’t have to buy it new? What can you swap with someone to save both of you money and resources? Use your neighborhood list-serv, freecycle.org, eBay and Craigslist to make it easy to share and swap your stuff.

5) Enjoy Nature. It’s Earth Day, after all. Make sure you don’t spend it inside. Go for a hike. Have a picnic in the park. Take a few minutes to step outside your door and listen to the birds. Or be more ambitious: go ahead and plant that tree! Connecting to nature is a great way to connect to ourselves. Don’t miss the chance.

6) Cook real food. Earth Day is the one day a year you should skip carry-out. Spend some time in your kitchen actually making real food from scratch. Feel the textures of the food you cook; savor the aromas as you saute and stir. Try new seasonings and unusual sauces. Eat food that feels like it actually came from the Earth, not the packaged foods section of the grocery store.

7) Have an organic potluck. Every holiday is best enjoyed with friends and family. Earth Day is no exception. Invite a group over, with the stipulation that all food items be organic. This will not only be delicious. Some diners may not realize that they can get everything from alcohol to baking staples produced without toxic chemicals.

Enjoy – and Happy Earth Day!

256 comments

Christine Jones
Christine J1 years ago

Thanks for the article; it always saddens me when I see people throwing out perfectly good clothes, as there are so many organizations that can use them.

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Caroline d.
Caroline d1 years ago

Thank you for sharing this very interesting article !
Be all blessed as all your loved ones

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus1 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Julia Oleynik
Julia Oleynik2 years ago

Thank you for sharing:)

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Debbie Hartman
DEBORAH Hartman2 years ago

thanks

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M.N. J.
M.N. J2 years ago

Use the "Click to Donate" links -- all of them, but especially the ones that help animals and the environment.

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Teresa W.
Teresa W2 years ago

Use your butterfly credits to plant a tree!

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Dan(iel) M.
Dan(iel) M2 years ago

Thanks for posting!

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Ilona V.
Ilona V2 years ago

Thanks.

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for the article.

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