It’s officially Earth Month! This year, April 22nd will mark the 50th anniversary of the original Earth Day, a day in 1970 when over 10% of the U.S. population took to the streets in protest of environmental degradation and the modern environmental movement was born. This protest spurred the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency as well as the passage of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act.
Today, Earth Day is the most widely recognized secular holiday in the world and is observed by over a billion people every year as a day of action to change behaviors and policies. People have traditionally engaged in educational events, service days, protests, and more.
And while for many of us it is difficult to spend so much of the beautiful month of April inside rather than participating in sustainability activities in the ways we normally would, there are still lots of ways we can celebrate planet Earth and work to protect our environment and natural resources from home.
- Register to Vote and make sure to do so!
Voting is essential to making sure that our voices are heard, and in Oregon, it’s easy to do it from home! While we can all do our part to forward the mission of sustainability, having supportive elected officials is crucial to getting things done. If you’re an Oregon Voter, the primaries are on May 19th, so make sure to send in your ballot before then. Register to vote here.
- Make a pledge to reduce your plastic use!
Every year, millions of tons of plastic are dumped into the ocean and they won’t fully break down for hundreds of years. You can do your part to reduce the load of plastic into the ocean by making a #plasticpact and committing to reducing or eliminating single-use plastics in your life. But saving on plastic doesn’t have to be expensive and time consuming– there are lots of cheap and easy ways to reduce your footprint
- Use a reusable water bottle and reduce the number of bottled drinks you buy. You can purchase high-quality water bottles from the OSUsed store for 50¢ or a hydroflask for less than $10.
- When you go to a grocery store, try to avoid items that are packaged in hard plastic. If your store has bulk bins, bring your own reusable bags and stock up on dry ingredients such as rice, pasta, flour, and spices!
- Stop throwing out those Ziplocks! Instead, try washing them in warm suds and drying them on a rack, like the one below. You can also dry them using a string and clothespins.
- Try out DIY upcycling!
Now that we’ve all got a little extra time on our hands, we can use it as an opportunity to do some upcycling! This is especially important for those of us who are slowly starting to run out of materials, and realizing that we can’t just run to the store whenever we want to anymore.
- Turn old t-shirts into rags. Do you have any old clothes at the back of your closet that might not be nice enough to give away? Cut them up and use them as rags- this will also help cut down on paper towel use.
- Build homemade no-sew masks using materials as simple as a bandanna and two hair-ties. Click here for video instructions.
- Regrow produce- when you buy fresh produce, don’t just throw away the scraps. You can actually use them to regrow more food! Lettuce, celery, and cabbage are all easy to regrow- simply place the bottom piece in a bowl of water and set in the sun. In fact, there are 25 common vegetables you can do this with! It’s great if you have limited space or no access to a garden. Click here for more instructions.
- Make videos or posts about an environmental issue you care about! Tag your representative.
Do you have a vision for the future of our environment? Express that vision on social media! Tag your representatives to make sure they know where you stand.
You can make a video about moving completely to renewable energy, a post about banning single-use plastics, or one about protecting pollinators. Don’t know who to tag? You can find all your elected officials and their contact info here!
- Do your own part to reduce your energy consumption!
What can you do to reduce your energy consumption during quarantine? It might seem like there’s not much to be done, but here are some ideas of where to start:
- Bike or walk when you have to leave the house. For those of us who are still able to leave the house or go to the grocery store, we can try to avoid cars and instead hop on a bike or have a nice long walk! Besides, now is a great time to be biking because the roads are so empty! And let’s face it, we could all use an excuse to get some fresh air.
- Turn off your thermostat and grab a sweater! Depending on how cold it is, you can turn your thermostat down or all the way off! When it’s hot outside, I like to open up all the windows in the morning and close then at about 10am– this helps keep cold air inside and regulates the temperature without ever having to use fans or AC!
- Unplug unused appliances. Do you have a lamp, toaster or coffee pot that you don’t use every day? Get in the habit of unplugging it after each use! This will help prevent unnecessary energy use.
Looking for more ways to be sustainable during quarantine? Check out this article, 50 ways to be green.
CATEGORIES: Campus Sustainability