Wednesday is Earth Day. And yes, Earth Day 2020 is going to be a bit different than celebrations of years past, but just as special nonetheless. Celebrating Earth Day virtually may seem a bit ironic, but even in these times of social distancing, we can still honor and move forward in repairing the world.
Read on for ways that you and your family can help the Earth both locally and globally by digging into nature outside, learning sustainable practices inside and even creating your own Family Green Act.
Go on a Scavenger Hunt
The best way to get children and youth to appreciate nature, and thus take care of it, is to get them outside exploring. A great activity for both little ones and reading-age kids is to go on a nature scavenger hunt. Find an already-made template for a list online, or create your own. On the list, include pictures for non-readers and text for older kids. Remember to follow “Leave No Trace” principles during this hunt by leaving what you find. Instead of picking flowers and gathering pine cones, use photos or draw and document finds in journals.
Other fun backyard activities: compose a self-portrait with found materials or play a nature bingo (link to activity sheet below).
Create a Window Sign
To spread Earth Day support to your neighbors, create a large window sign to hang up for others to see. Earthday.org has slogan ideas or invent some of your own. Showing Earth Day advocacy from a distance (even online) can be very compelling.
Learn About Your Backyard
Whether you have your own backyard or a local park, educating yourself on climate-zone-appropriate plants and trees is an easy way to stay informed. Use the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) plant hardiness zone finder to learn about ideal plants for your area, as well as when to plant them in your garden.
Check out the Audubon Society’s database to learn about which plants and trees help attract certain birds specific to your area. To bring more buzzy bees to your backyard, visit Pollinator.org for the best plants for pollinators in your area.
Make a Zero Waste Lunch Kit
An easy way to help protect the Earth is to use less plastic. A great starting point — daily lunch supplies. Ditch plastic zip bags and plastic containers and moving towards using reusables. ECOlunchbox has a variety of metal stainless steel containers in all shapes and sizes, as well as bento boxes, bamboo and stainless steel utensil and straw sets, and cute animal-themed lunch totes, all plastic-free.
Don’t worry about replacing plastics all at once. Instead, aim to overhaul your lunch stash gradually by adding in reusable bags, like the easy-to-open Lunchskins, and moving toward non-plastic options.
Make a Family Green Plan
As a family, brainstorm ways everyone can be a little bit more sustainable and help the Earth a little bit more. Maybe that means going meatless on Mondays, researching local recycling, compost and trash practices. Make it fun by creating a game using print-outs and containers for little ones to practice. Another option: Plant a tree.
Write out and post your Family Green Plan somewhere where everyone can see it, and add on cut-out leaves for every “act of green” a family member participates in.
As much of the world is on face-to-face hold right now, many Earth Day 2020 celebrations are moving online. NASA is holding an Earth Day At Home with space and science resources and lego-building challenges, while the San Diego Zoo has a variety of activities, like live sessions from the zoo, animal cameras and activity sheets.
Don’t wait until Wednesday to show your love — Mother Earth is always open to applause.