Blog entries / Climate Change / Endangered Species / Habitat restoration / National wildlife refuges / Outdoor recreation / Youth

How to Do Earth Day the Right Way

With Arbor Day and Earth Day coming up, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can reduce my carbon footprint and live more sustainability during my day-to-day life. Of course, it’s important to do this year-round. But Earth Day’s a great time to celebrate all that sustainable work you’re doing throughout the year!

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A honeybee at our northeast regional office in Hadley, MA! Bees and other pollinators are on the decline, but so much of the ecosystem depends on these tenacious little guys to spread pollen. via USFWS

There are plenty of ways to live a little greener, and you probably know most of them—recycle everything you can and conserve power and fuel—so this year, we’re focusing on ways to improve green spaces in urban areas.

Pollinators!
With mounting evidence that pollinators in decline, there’s an emergency underway. Pollinators need your help! Try planting native flowers that bloom at different times of the year to provide more diverse pollen and nectar sources, and build a bee box for pollinators to nest! Also, avoid using pesticides, as it will only contribute to the decline of these essential critters.

Plant native plants!
When you’re planning your green spaces, be sure to only plant native species! As you saw in my previous post about the threat of invasive species, invasives out-compete the local species and irrevocably harm an environment. So only plant native! Not only does it provide a link to your local environment, but its better for the rest of the ecosystem in your area.

Reduce bird strikes!
Your restored green space or garden is going to attract a variety of wildlife—and that’s great! But if there are any nearby mirrors or glass, you’ll want to make sure birds are protected from striking these and hurting themselves. You can even doubly reduce your environmental impact by reusing shiny objects to reduce bird strikes by decorating your window with things like aluminum cans.

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A ruby-throated hummingbird, another pollinator, but one that’s susceptible to hurting itself by striking windows! Make sure to hang visual cues in windows to prevent this from happening! via UFWS

Restore!
Sometimes, green spaces get neglected, because everyone thinks it’s someone else’s job to restore. This Earth Day, try to volunteer to renovate a nearby green space by picking up trash, litter or other man-made refuse that get forgotten. If this green space is or is supported by a water source, another way to improve it would be to reduce stormwater runoff to this water source, by making certain no hazardous materials like pesticides, paint or fuel end up being washed down the drain.

Create!
If you find an unused parcel of land, or part of a yard that’s underutilized, try and spruce it up this Earth Day! It’s a great way to get outside and get involved. Nothing’s ever on TV anyway, so grab some tools and bring some friends. One of largest reasons for a decline in species is habitat loss. By clearing debris and cleaning sites, unused parcels can be turned into green spaces relatively easily, and with vast environmental implications. Rooftops can be turned into gardens and alleys can be turned into green spaces, for instance, see the Holyoke Alleyway Revitalization Project, which cleans up urban alleys and maintains them using permaculture.

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Anyone can get involved this Earth Day! via USFWS

There are plenty of ways to live more sustainably, so this Earth Day, don’t be afraid to get outside and improve nearby natural spaces, whether it’s a garden or a piece of unused land. What ideas do you have for improving green spaces near you?

4 thoughts on “How to Do Earth Day the Right Way

  1. Pingback: Earth Day 2014 – Teaching Children to Respect the Earth and its Environment | Recipes for a Healthy You

  2. Pingback: Celebrating Earth Day in 2014 | EcoTone: news and views on ecological science

  3. Pingback: SAN’s (Sustainable Action Network) Partners Earth Day Special: |

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