MAKE EVERYDAY EARTH DAY
This year’s Earth Day is on Thursday April 22, and it takes on a new significance after we experienced wildfires, extreme heat, and hurricanes in 2020. Incorporating one new activity that becomes a habit can make a lasting impact on the environment. Here are 20 activities you can do to celebrate Earth Day and everyday:
1. Calculate Your Carbon Footprint
Calculating your carbon footprint will help you understand how much greenhouse gas you are producing and start to identify ways to reduce it to combat the climate crisis. Knowing your carbon footprint gives you a baseline to create a goal to take action. Here is a helpful carbon foot calculator.
2. Zero Waste Challenge
Zero waste is the goal to change your lifestyle and practices to produce less waste and eliminate the need for single use materials. Challenge yourself to log how much packaging and food waste you accumulate in a day, a week or a month and see how you can adjust your habits accordingly. Here are some steps you can take to achieve zero waste.
3. Vegetarian Challenge
Meat production contributes to 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions in the world. Incorporating one day of plant based meals or adopting a plant based diet will cut down on the greenhouse gas emissions. Check out some of these plant based recipes for inspiration.
4. Plastic Audit
Plastic pollution continues to be a major environmental issue. Reducing the amount of plastic you use can reduce its chance of ending up in landfills, littering natural areas and harming humans and marine wildlife. This video has some fun and easy swaps you can make to reduce your plastic usage.
5. Plant a Tree
Deforestation contributes to 10 percent of emissions in the world. Trees produce oxygen and trap carbon dioxide. If left unchecked, carbon dioxide builds up in the atmosphere causing global warming. Reforestation slows this down, cleans the air and prevents environmental degradation. Consider planting a tree in the backyard or public garden or donate to causes such as the Canopy Project which does reforestation work.
6. Unsubscribe to Catalogs
Trees are constantly cut down to create paper products including catalogs and junk mail that typically gets thrown away. Sign up for an opt-out service like catalogchoice.org to help you cancel catalogs and other paper mail you no longer wish to receive.
7. Spend Time Outside
Because everyone was isolated at home, 2020 reminded people of the joys of being outdoors through socially distant walks and park outings. Continue to take advantage of the beautiful outdoors! Explore local, state and national parks or hang out on the grass doing your favorite activities. Show some love for the beautiful place we call home.
8. Create a Hanging Garden
You can reuse items that you no longer need for DIY arts and crafts. Follow this tutorial to turn an old bottle into a planter for a hanging garden.
9. Create Floral Wind Chimes
Another craft you can try with friends or family is floral wind chimes. While spending time outside, you can gather sticks and flowers, attach them to wax paper, mason jar rings and string and hang them outside.
10. Create a Bird Feeder
Bird populations have decreased due to the loss of habitat and natural food sources. You can support wild bird populations by creating a pretty habitat in your backyard. Birds both act as pollinators and natural pest control and can teach kids how to care for the environment. Learn how to make a bird feeder from this tutorial.
11. Create a Terrarium
Terrariums are a low maintenance way to bring outdoor gardens into your home. They are easy to care for and can survive for a long time, even for people who are new to caring for plants. Follow this tutorial to turn an empty Coca-Cola bottle into a terrarium.
12. Create a Self-Watering Planter
Taking care of plants can be a lot of responsibility and improper watering is often the reason for plants dying. Self-watering planters are great solutions for maintaining indoor plants to create even moisture levels and prevent fungal disease. You can make your own self-watering plant using this video.
13. Create Magazine Art
If you have a lot of magazines cluttering your home, there are a variety of things you can do besides recycling them. Magazine art is a great, creative way to reuse old magazines that you finished reading. Try this tutorial to design beautiful magazine art.
14. Walk or Bike to Your Destination
Walking and biking have environmental benefits over driving. With fewer cars on the road, greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants are reduced. Additionally, both are great forms of exercise to increase your energy and reduce the risk of heart disease and depression. Consider leaving your car at home if you’re going somewhere that’s within walking or biking distance.
15. Plant a Garden
Growing a garden can save you money when buying produce and attract pollinators like bees and butterflies which are vital for a healthy environment. Start small by planting herbs or vegetables that are easy to grow for beginners.
16. Buy Reusable Bags
Americans use about 100 billion plastic bags a year. They are not biodegradable, clog up landfills, and harm marine life. Buy a reusable shopping bag or plain canvas tote to decorate yourself. Then keep it handy for your next shopping trip.
17. Fix Leaky Faucets
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, dripping faucets can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year. Assess all of the areas in your home where water is dispensed and tighten the leaky places to prevent waste.
18. Purchase Produce from a Farmer’s Market
Buying food from a farmer’s market is a great way to support the environment and local businesses. The food you get from the grocery store generally travels an average of 1,500 miles to get to your home. A local farmer’s market produces less pollution, uses less resources, and needs less packaging because food travels a shorter distance. Farmer’s market produce is also grown using methods that have lower impact on the environment than commercial agriculture. Support your local farmer’s market or sign up for a community supported agriculture (CSA) box to receive local produce delivered directly to your door.
19. Volunteer with Organizations
If you are passionate about environmental causes, get involved with organizations that are doing the work. Volunteer with nonprofits like the Sunrise Movement, Friends of the Urban Forest or us to help educate people about the environment and further causes to fight climate change.
20. Challenge Your Friends or Coworkers
It’s easier to commit to new habits when you do it with others. Challenge your friends, family or coworkers into incorporating Earth Day activities for a certain period of time. It keeps you accountable and everyone does their part to protect the planet.
After trying some of these activities, see which ones you can incorporate into new habits. Make taking care of the environment a regular part of your life.
Thank you to our volunteer Kimaya for curating our list of Earth Day activities!
Did You Know… Bay Area Green Tours is 100% volunteer-led? Please consider supporting our work by donating so we can continue to deliver quality programs and content. Or sponsor a customized Virtual Team Building event for your colleagues with live Q&A from solutionaries who will illustrate local, sustainable solutions. Virtual Team Building events also include lunch or a happy hour cooking class featuring our Chef and Sommelier partners. To learn more, please email our Director Of Program Development & Marketing, email@example.com.
The summer of 2020 was a season most Californians would like to forget. Wildfires raged throughout the state, smoke blocked out the sun and made the simple act of breathing hazardous.
But in BAGT’s latest Solutionaries Speak interview, regenerative rancher Doniga Markegard said the experience shouldn’t be something we block out.
“We need to remember [the fires] and put ourselves back there on a regular basis and remember how we felt...we couldn’t breathe the air...and take action to get into the right relationship with the land,” she shared in conversation with Anne Freiwald of Vital Cycles: Creating Personal & Planetary Resilience.
Markegard has been running her ranch, Markegard Family Grass-Fed, on the coastal prairie near Half Moon Bay for 16 years. She and her family practice regenerative agriculture, using methods that mimic nature to produce more nutrient-rich food.
In regenerative ranching animals are not confined and are moved over the landscape to prevent overgrazing and to allow native species, from bunch grasses to songbirds, to thrive.
“As regenerative ranchers, we move the animals across the land. There’s never stagnancy,” she said. Just like with the human body, “if we’re stagnant, our health declines.”
Not only does regenerative agriculture lessen the environmental impact of food production, it’s also a key way to draw down carbon in the atmosphere and mitigate the effects of natural disasters like fires.
In the conversation, Doniga pointed out that grazing animals are a key way to address seasonal fire danger, just like the practice of prescribed burning: “If they [the fires] started on land that had been grazed where the fuel load was reduced...where ranchers had relationships to that land and had knowledge of place, those fires would be able to be contained.”
How to be “regenetarian”
You don’t have to be in charge of 300 head of cattle to make regenerative choices. Doniga's recommendation? Just start with “doing small things and expand out from there.”
Here are some ways to be part of the regeneration movement:
Above all, she said, “It’s time for all of us to stop trying to tame the wild, whether it’s that wild within us or that wild outside our door. Let's tend that wild within and tend the wild outside as well and get into the “right” relationship with all life.”
For more on regenerative farming, helping kids connect with nature, Doniga’s experience tracking wolves in Idaho, and more, watch the full conversation on the BAGT YouTube channel. And don’t miss the next Solutionaries Speak event on May 13th with farmer Javier Zamora, owner of JSM Organics. Sign up now to attend.
The Solutionaries Speak webcast series shares the work of climate heroes who are promoting healthy living practices, tackling issues to halt the climate crisis, and finding positive solutions to urgent environmental problems.
Solutionaries Speak is a unique opportunity for participants to hear directly from environmental and social justice leaders about regeneration in action. Hear about sustainable strategies and practices we can all implement and advocate for in order to build a more resilient economy and vibrant future. Join the discussion with cutting edge thought leaders sharing their knowledge, experience, and passion.
Solutionary (n.): a person actively engaged in developing and implementing sustainable, regenerative, and just solutions for the urgent climate and social issues of our time that positively impact communities and our planet.
Della offered us Frederick Buechner’s quote, “...the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet” and related it to our job satisfaction, how we can become better environmental stewards, and regenerative economists as individuals.
Buzzwords in the environmental world keep evolving. Here is our list of top 10 sustainability terms you need to know.
10) Sustainability. At first, everything and anything related to the environment was “green.” Like most terms that go mainstream, it became overused. “Green” has now become “sustainable.” Sustainable systems seek to maintain and to not take away. However, we have discovered that sustainability is no longer enough—we need a more deliberate approach to combating climate change—now an ever-present force. We need to regenerate! Regeneration is the current way to describe how to not lose ground, better yet, how to revitalize and restore what is most needed in the fast-paced environmental movement.
No, I’m not retired!
Keeping a small mission-driven volunteer-led non-profit afloat has been a labor of love. Over the past twelve years, BAGT has given me the opportunity to constantly learn and be stimulated by changemakers and thought leaders I have met and worked with. But I also know that stepping back is my new reality. But when? How?
The idea for BAGT’s new Solutionaries Speak webcast series evolved from only educating our interns to sharing the actions of climate heroes with a wider online audience. Our new interview series highlights what these necessary and beneficial individuals and organizations are doing to promote healthy living practices, tackle issues to halt the climate crisis, and find positive solutions to urgent environmental problems.
We are currently lining up the same local partners we frequently visited when we conducted our pre-COVID in-person tours.
Never heard of a Resource Conservation District (RCD)?? These three letters carry huge importance. RCDs make up nearly 3,000 conservation district projects across the United States. They work directly with landowners to conserve and promote healthy soils, water, forests and wildlife. And so?
Our Journey to Virtual Programming
Like so many other businesses impacted by Covid-19, we discovered that we had two choices: 1) reinvent or 2) shutter. Obviously we chose to reinvent, or you wouldn’t be reading this!
We’ve spent the greater part of this year learning how to convert a local in-person-only tour organization into one offering a similar experience in the virtual world.
We decided to take on this significant challenge to pivot by creating virtual programs and offerings.