FEATURE STORY, LIFESTYLE

15 Ways to Celebrate Our Mother Earth Every Day

Earth Day is April 22. Here are 15 different ways you can celebrate Earth Day with your family and friends!


HAPPY EARTH DAY!

Despite having a couple of days of snow, we saw a little bit of sunshine today. I always love it when it’s sunny on Earth Day. It just seems very fitting to spend the day in the sunshine when you are celebrating Mother Earth.

What did you do for Earth Day?

Today, we created an Earth Day snack or “Dirt Brownie Cupcakes.” We used fudge brownies (to represent the dirt), green icing, gummy worms, and sprinkles. The kids loved it! We also read books about Earth Day and painted an Earth Day picture.

This weekend we’re going to take the kids to get an indoor plant for each of them to take care of. It’s an Earth Day family tradition we started a few years ago. Last year, we didn’t do it because of the pandemic lockdowns so I’m happy that we get to restart our family tradition again.

IF YOU FORGOT ABOUT EARTH DAY, DON’T WORRY!

Even though Earth Day is held on April 22nd each year, the whole month of April is also recognized as Earth Month. However, no matter what time of year it is, it’s always a great day to celebrate our planet and take care of our Earth.

Dirt Cupcakes for Earth Day
We made “Dirt Brownie Cupcakes” for Earth Day today! (Photo of Zephaniah devouring his Dirt Cupcake.)
Dirt Cupcakes for Earth Day
For our “Dirt Cupcakes,” we used Pillsbury Brownie Cupcakes, icing, sprinkles, and gummy worms. (Photo of Zechariah getting ready to try his Dirt Cupcake.)

WHAT IS THE EARTH DAY THEME THIS YEAR?

This year’s Earth Day theme is “Restore Our Earth.” According to EARTHDAY.org, the theme “focuses on natural processes, emerging green technologies, and innovative thinking that can restore the world’s ecosystems.”

“It is up to each and every one of us to Restore Our Earth not just because we care about the natural world, but because we live on it. We all need a healthy Earth to support our jobs, livelihoods, health & survival, and happiness. A healthy planet is not an option — it is a necessity.”

EARTHDAY.ORG
Photo credit: earthday.org

WHY WAS APRIL 22ND CHOSEN AS THE OFFICIAL DATE OF EARTH DAY?

Each year, Earth Day is celebrated on April 22nd, as it marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. I also read on EarthSky that the reason why April 22nd was chosen as the day for Earth Day is that many colleges held their final spring break and final exams around this time. It’s also very close to Arbor Day (April 30th).

Former Senator of Wisconsin Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day after witnessing the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. According to Earthday.org, Senator Nelson realized if he could infuse the energy of the anti-war movement with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda.

Twenty million Americans participated in the inaugural Earth Day event on April 22, 1970. Many colleges and universities organized protests in support of the environmental cause. The first Earth Day had a great impact on society. It influenced the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean AirClean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.

Today, Earth Day is celebrated by more than a billion people across the globe! There are many ways to get involved with Earth Day and make a difference in your local community. Celebrating Earth Day can be both educational and fun for the kids. It’s a great way to teach children how to take care of their community and home.

Zhen and me on Earth Day 2019

FIFTEEN WAYS TO CELEBRATE EARTH DAY EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR

1. Start with the Earth Day official website to learn how you can take action now and understand how climate change is affecting our planet.

2. Organize an Earth Day event with a group. Are your kids in the Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts? Is there a different type of group your kids are involved in? Keeping COVID-19 safety in mind, here are a few last-minute Earth Day ideas you can plan with your group.

3. Go on a nature walk. The kids and I love going to our local metro parks to go on nature walks. It’s great exercise and also a big stress reliever.

4. Unplug for the day. That means no electronics or social media, kids! You’ll save a little on electricity and also establish valuable family time.

5. Create upcycled art from recycled materials. You can make pretty cool art from recycled materials. Pennsylvania artist Tarish “Jeghetto” Pipkins started using recycled parts to create his magical Jeghetto’s Workshop puppets.

And my favorite Detroit art store Arts & Scraps sells recycled art materials and scraps at a discounted rate. We love to shop at Arts & Scraps because of the budget-friendly prices and unique art materials we often find.

My favorite Detroit community art store is Arts & Scraps. The non-profit sells recycled art materials and scraps at a discounted rate. (Photo of Zephaniah and Zechariah visiting Arts & Scraps early 2020)
Arts & Scraps Community Store in Detroit, Michigan
We love to shop at Arts & Scraps because of the budget-friendly prices and unique art materials we often find.

6. Build a homemade bird feeder. This is a fun outdoor project to do with the kids. After creating the bird feeder, have the kids fill it with bird seeds and then talk about the different types of birds that visit the bird feeder.

7. Plant a garden at your home. Every year we always plant a garden in front of our home. This year, we’re going to focus on planting more flower seeds. We’re also going to repurpose thrifted objects to make our own flower pots for our upcycled urban garden.

8. Shop at a consignment or thrift store. Believe it or not, thrifty shopping is a great way to cut down on waste and save money. #MomWin

8. Pledge to reduce the use of plastic. Unfortunately, our overuse of plastic materials is hurting our Earth and animals. Have you ever seen plastic litter at the beach or park?

Wild animals can get seriously hurt from this litter. By pledging to reduce your use of plastic, you are not only helping reduce litter, but you are also help save animals’ lives.

Going for a nature walk is a great way to exercise and regroup. (Photo of Travis with Zhen, Zephaniah, and Zechariah at a local park.)

8. Visit a park for a family fun day. Getting outside is fun for the whole family. Plan a picnic. Fly kites with the kids. Bring your bikes to go for a bike ride. Find your favorite playground to take the kids to play. There are so many fun things you can do at your local park.

9. Give tox-free living a try. I wrote this blog post last year sharing five ways we can be more mindful of transitioning to green living. It features an interview with Dr. Tracie Baker, assistant professor in the Institute of Environmental Health Sciences at Wayne State University.

11. Make a donation to environmental community organizations. D-Town Farms is a Detroit urban farm focusing on food justice and security. You can also volunteer at D-Town Farms. We visited the farm for their Harvest Festival in 2019 and we’re planning on signing up to volunteer, too!

A few more Detroit environmental community organizations: Scrap Soils, FlowerFwd 313, Planet Detroit, and Detroit Community Fridge.

Visiting D-Town Farms in Fall 2019

12. Volunteer to clean up your local park. We love playing at our local parks. It seems only right to also clean it up so we can continue to enjoy its beauty!

14. Buy your produce and other fresh food at a local farmers’ market. When you buy your food from a farmers market you are supporting small business owners. Buying fresh food is also good for our health and budget-friendly!

15. Start a community garden. Community gardens are a great way to get fresh air, help with your mental health, and a good way to exercise (you can burn anywhere between 200 to 600 calories!). Plus, gardens can help provide nourishing foods to your family and neighbors.

Keep Growing Detroit has great resources on community and urban gardens such as the Garden Resource Program. The American Gardening Association also has resources on how to start a community garden.


All photographs are courtesy of Jennifer Hamra for Good Life Detroit.

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