Woman cleaning out closet, Shutterstock
4. Clean Out Your Closet and Donate to a Charity
It may not always be so obvious, but manufacturing new clothing requires both energy and water, and there are many people who don’t have money to buy their own. So this Earth Day, why not clean out your overstuffed closet and then donate those t-shirts and shorts you haven’t worn in years to a local charity. Not only will this make you feel good about lightening your load, but the people who receive your lightly used clothing will so thankful you’ll wonder if it’s Christmas and not Earth Day!
Antique constitution, Shutterstock
5. Write a Letter to Your Government Representative
The original Earth Day was organized by Gaylord Nelson, a US senator from Wisconsin who was eager to mobilize the kind of energy that made the Vietnam-era protests possible in order to demand environmental justice. In the spirit of this history, why not use Earth Day as an excuse to write that letter you’ve been meaning to send to your local government representatives. Although it doesn’t always seem so, every person matters, so whether you are particularly concerned about water issues or fracking, write your letter on April 22, 2012 and make your voice heard.
Kids planting a tree, Shutterstock
6. Plant a Tree
It might sound like a bit of a cliche, but planting trees is by far one of the most important gifts we can give back to the planet and to ourselves. Global warming is caused by a buildup of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere (such as carbon dioxide and methane), which traps heat on the planet. But trees have the ability to suck up carbon dioxide, which is why the Amazon and other forests are so important. If every person on the planet plants one tree, that amounts to nearly 7 billion new carbon sponges. You can plant a tree in your own backyard, or join a group.