Cary, NC — If there’s anything I’ve learned from environmental documentaries and podcasts, it’s that the Earth could use a lot more attention and love than just one day’s worth.
So, with that in mind, here are a few ways you can keep the Earth Day celebrations rolling through the weekend and beyond.
1. Recycle Responsibly this Saturday in Morrisville
In honor and recognition of Earth Day, the Town of Morrisville’s spring event, Green Day, is set for Saturday, April 24.
The socially distanced, drive-thru event will be held from 10 AM to 2 PM at Church Street Park, located at 5800 Cricket Pitch Way. The event, put on by Morrisville’s Stewardship Program and Sustainability Program, will provide document shredding and the opportunity to recycle electronics (including laptops), cooking oil, and textiles.
See more on the event and what items are accepted and prohibited in the full event story.
2. Support Local Businesses that are “Going Green”
The NC Green Business Directory is kept up in partnership by Greenish Neighbor and Toward Zero Waste. This directory allows you to search for North Carolina businesses in your local area that are taking steps to be more environmentally sustainable.
The NC Green Businesses on this directory are not necessarily Zero Waste/Carbon Neutral but are taking steps to be green in some way. These eco-friendly actions fall into the categories of: Reuse and Landfill Reduction, Local and Organic, Carbon Reduction, Conservation, Systemic Change, Green Certifications and Program Participation.
3. Sign a Petition to Support #ReopenWithReuse
A more systemic Earth-friendly movement in the work is the Reopen with Reuse campaign. A staggering 380 million tons of plastic are produced every year. Plus, the average person consumes a credit card’s worth of microplastic every week… yuck!
Without action to reduce consumption, the quantity of plastics production is set to double in the next 20 years. To take action and be a part of a solution to move toward more reusable foodware, you can sign your name to the online petition. In doing so, you’ll be supporting goals, such as:
- Influencing the CDC to change their foodservice business reopening guidance to be more reusable-friendly
- Giving businesses and consumers greater confidence in the safety of reusables as more restaurants reopen
- Encouraging restaurants / events / National Parks and potentially any establishment which serves food to reopen with non-toxic reusable foodware
4. Do An At-Home Upcycle Project
Upcycling is taking something that’s considered waste and repurposing it. This is different from the process of recycling, which breaks down items and, in most cases, degrades the value of the materials.
Upcycling, on the other hand, is a creative process where waste is looked at as a resource and is intended to increase the value of the item. Materials are reused in a clever new way, giving them a second life and function. Think of a pallet coffee table. Upcycling transforms a common pallet into a lovely piece of furniture.
Want some inspiration for your own at-home upcycling project? Check out Upcycle That, an online resource for searching what you could make from a variety of materials and where you can also purchase Upcycled products.
5. Take On the Triangle Land Conservancy Hiking Challenge
Explore new places, challenge yourself and win fun prizes by participating in TLC’s Hiking Challenge.
Anyone can enroll in the Hiking Challenge, regardless of if you are a current TLC member. It consists of completing six hikes at six public TLC preserves and you have one year from the date you enroll to conquer the challenge.
Those who can finish three hikes will receive a Triangle Land Conservancy patch badge and those who complete all six will be listed on their Hiking Challenge Wall of Fame and win more prizes! See more on the challenge on the TLC website.
6. Host or Join a Litter Cleanup
Small groups are capable of making a big difference. A great example of this are organized group clean ups, or impromptu individual ones, too!
Imagine if all Cary residents went outside today and picked up all the trash that they found on a short walk. How much litter do you think we would be able to collect? How many organisms do you think we would be able to save from the effects of pollution?
Lasting impacts are built upon small daily actions that add up over time, so something as simple as taking a trash bag with you on your next run in the neighborhood or trip to the park to pick up litter is impactful.
Want to join in on an upcoming litter pickup? There is one coming up, hosted by Toward Zero Waste on May 2, 2021 from 3-5 PM. This pickup is geared toward young people aged 12-18 and their families and will start at Green Level High School in Cary. Here’s more information on this pickup event.
7. Educate! Read a Green-Minded Book with Kids
If you’re concerned about the environment, or an advocate of green living, it’s likely that you want your child to learn about these issues too.
Check out this website full of green books for eco-minded kids and parents. Education and awareness are powerful tools in working to better the planet. These books are an age-appropriate way to introduce your future environmentalist to issues like how to reduce your carbon footprint, protect endangered species, cultivate green spaces, recycle, and more.
8. Make Your Next Meal Plant-Based
According to EarthDay.org, the food system accounts for more than a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions, making animal agriculture one of the largest contributors to climate change.
For just one example, a plant-based burger generates 90% less GHGs and has 99% less water impact and has 93% less impact on land use than a beef burger. So, take a moment to peruse some plant-based recipes and consider making your next meal not only healthier for yourself, but also healthier for the climate.
9. Donate to Environmental Organizations
There are TONS of organizations around the globe, across North Carolina and right here in Cary that carry out incredible work to better the planet. A monetary gift to one or several of these can go a long way to achieving worthwhile goals.
Get researching and find an organization you want to support!
10. Ask For Action from Your Representatives
Want to be a part of long-lasting, effective and large scale changes to better the planet? A way to do that is to contact the elected officials representing you that have a voice in creating and approving environmental policies.
To get your search and writing started, check out the NC Department of Environmental Quality website to search for your regional representatives and their contact information.
2021 Theme: Restore Our Earth
As you navigate through the rest of 2021, keep in mind EarthDay.org‘s theme of “Restore Our Earth,” which focuses on natural processes, emerging green technologies and innovative thinking that can restore the world’s ecosystems.
More on this and initiatives related to the 2021 theme can be found at EarthDay.org.
Story by Ashley Kairis. Photos courtesy of organization websites and social media.
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