On April 22, 2013, more than one billion people around the world will take part in the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day. Communities everywhere will voice their concerns for the planet, and take action to protect it. Here are some ways to connect and participate:
The History of Earth Day| Get a quick overview of the how and why behind Earth Day with this short WatchMojo video.
We just wrapped up an Earth Day sweepstakes on Facebook, Win a Feel Good Moment, where we offered a chance to win $1000 for the non-profit of the winner’s choice. Choosing an eco-charity to support is a difficult one – there are so many great ones out there! We know this firsthand. To fulfill our 10% GiveBack Promise, we scour stacks of applications and dig deep into each organization. Here are shortcuts we’ve learned along the way to help you narrow down your choices and match up with the perfect conservation org:
1. PINPOINT YOUR CAUSE. Whether you’re interested in wildlife preservation, land conservation or climate change, there are resources to help you find an environmental org that supports your interests. Spend some time with a search engine to get a sense of the organizations out there that share your environmental concerns.
2. CHECK THEIR PERFORMANCE. Once you have a handful of organizations that speak to your eco concerns, Charity Navigator (for larger charities) and Better Business Bureau Giving Alliance (for local giving) are great places to dig deeper. These sites offer free tools to evaluate the financials, accountability and transparency of non-profits. With a few simple clicks, you’ll know which charities are trustworthy.
3. GET TO KNOW THEM, THEN JOIN THEM. Now that you’ve honed in on groups that mesh with your ideals, visit their websites. Sign up for their newsletters. Follow them on social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc). You’ll quickly gain an understanding of the scope of their work and involvement with their members. A good match will make you feel good, excited and involved in making an impact.
What advice would you give to someone who’s looking for a charity to support? Comment below and share your experiences.
As I find more and more ways to green up my life, I find that there are some eco-minded acts I relish more than others. I may not LOVE all the eco chores on my To Do list – but I incorporate them into my family’s life because the actions reflect how we want to support the planet.
→ Rinsing out peanut butter and jelly jars before tossing them in the recycle bin? *grumble, grumble, complain*
→ Hitting myself over the head when I forget to BYOBag on shopping trips? Ugh, now I have to lug those horrid plastic bags home, hanging my head in shame.
→ And taking kitchen scraps out to the compost bin? According to my husband, I put this chore off till the last minute each and every week.
But enough about the small handful of eco-tasks that I don’t totally dig! There is a long list of green-minded habits that I find inspiring, enjoyable and – dare I say – indulgent. Finding ways to help the planet that mesh with your personal interests is a great way to nurture a lasting commitment to being green.
→ As a girl that likes to get her hands dirty, I find it a fun, educational challenge to raise my flowers and vegetables organically. And all those drought-resistant native plants I planted over the years? They give me a beautiful backyard that requires little to no watering or maintenance.
→ Biking is an excellent way to reduce my carbon footprint – but really, pedaling home from work is a rather selfish act that allows me to arrive home refreshed and stress free.
→ Shopping at our local farmer’s market tests my budding culinary skills as I create a meal from the organic produce available that day. It also is a great way to spead a Saturday morning outdoors with my family.
Next on my list of Earth-friendly chores to employ are putting up a backyard clothes line and joining an environmental advocacy group in my area. Being environmentally aware isn’t all about the mundane daily tasks (note to self – remember to buy energy-efficient bulb for front porch light!), it’s about finding creative, fun ways to incorporate green acts into your lifestyle. Want to see how other’s do it? Check out the photo entries in Whole Foods and Endangered Species Chocolate’s “Indulge in a Cause” photo contest. Vote for your favorite by May 13th; the grand prize winner receives $5,000 to donate to the eco-charity of their choice and a year of chocolate from ESC.
What eco-tasks do you find not all that thrilling? Which ones do you truely embrace and enjoy? Share with us by commenting below.
With Earth Day (April 22) falling right in the lap of Easter (April 24, 2011) this year, I’m thinking of nixing the traditional basket filler and tucking in goodies that encourage an appreciation of nature. I’m pretty confident my outdoorsy, totally-curious-about-the-world 4-year old son will love it.
Reducing by Reusing
It really surprises me to learn that lots of folks trash their baskets after Easter. Think of all of those sad, pastel baskets sitting in landfills for eons – discarded and forgotten. And don’t get me started on those (soulless) cellophane wrapped pre-filled baskets you see in big box stores! The Easter Bunny is way more creative and nature-conscious than that.
Growing up, my brother and I always reused the same baskets year after year. Lots of memories tied to those baskets! It was like seeing an old friend when my parents would pull my basket out of the attic each spring. Believe it or not, my mom also saved and reused our Easter basket grass from year to year. Her reasoning was rooted in saving money and getting the most use out of everything. My mom’s example fits right in to my environmental outlook on life (not to mention my budget). I bought a sturdy natural woven basket and a couple of bundles of green recycled paper grass for my son’s first Easter – and – four years later, we are still making holiday memories with them.
Gifts that last
As I set out shopping to help the Easter Bunny find gifts to fill my child’s basket, I noticed that some stores set out a dizzying array of disposable trinkets as filler for baskets. The Easter-specific toys I spied seemed like they’d last a week before breaking. Needless to say, I was uninspired.
With Earth Day in mind, I aimed to seek out items that would be fun, useful and encourage our kid to get outside and commune with nature. Here are some of the ideas I thought up; share yours too – I still have some room to fill.
Books about bugs, butterflies, birds can open up a young one’s eyes to the importance of conservation.
Springtime is a good time to replenish art supplies – a quality sketchpad and colored pencils could help a young artist to bloom.
A colorful water bottle can keep your kid hydrated and keep plastic out of landfills.
Encourage your young one to dig nature by tucking a few flower, herb or vegetable seed packets into their basket.
Look for organic, all-natural sweets made with ingredients sourced with care. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Endangered Species Chocolate’s Easter Collections. *smile* Chocolate that not only tastes indulgent – it funds species conservation, promotes fair trade and encourages sustainable cacao farming.
Comment below and tell us how you green up Easter! Or add other eco-minded Easter basket ideas to our list.
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