Five Ways to Make a Local Impact on Earth Day

Earth Day 2018 is right around the corner: a day dedicated to giving back to the planet that sustains all of us. In last week’s post we offered five digital ways to help save the Earth, right from your own computer or cell phone. This week we’re exploring ways to make a hands-on difference in your local community – follow along to start being the change! 

1. Start a Recycling Program at Work or School

If you already recycle at home, great! Now how about extending this virtuous habit to your office or school? Although many sites now have recycling procedures in place, many are not as comprehensive as they should be. If your office or school only recycles paper, for example, find out how to extend the program to include glass, metal, and plastic. Many times, your local government can help by providing containers, compacters, and collection. For more information, consult Earth 911.

(Participants race to sort recycling during a game at the Massabesic Audubon Center in New Hampshire.)

2. Construct a Living Fence

If you have to mark a property line, protect your garden, or wish to add a decorative element to your yard, a great way to do it is with a living fence: a natural barrier made with plants, bushes, trees, flowers, or a combination of all of them. Take it one step further and turn your new barrier into a pollinator garden by adding some bee-friendly plants. Not only are living fences cheaper than their standard counterparts, but they also save on wood, metal, and successive paint jobs with all the related chemicals. Best yet? They never need replacing, just pruning!

3. Put Up a Bat Hotel

Why bats? Well, according to the organization Bat Conservation International, bats play vital ecological roles in ecosystems and human economies, including eating insects and pests, pollinating plants, and producing rich fertilizer in the form of guano. And most importantly, you’ll be helping save a species whose numbers are in decline worldwide. Place your untreated, unpainted box – or better yet, several – as high as possible, in a direction where they’re heated by the sun, and enjoy watching them swoop about for bugs when the sun is setting.

(SCA Seattle Community Crew members build and install a bat box at Gold Creek.)

4. Shop at a Farmer’s Market

The buy-local movement has taken off in recent years, with 8,500 registered farmer’s markets throughout the United States. And for good reason: local, in-season produce is tastier, healthier, and better for the environment, as it requires much less in the way of transportation and packaging. As you interact with the seller, you’ll learn important information about how your food is grown. And, finally, you’ll be supporting your local economy – a win-win-win.     

5. Participate in a Local Earth-Day Event – Including SCA’s!

Across the world, local events are being organized to celebrate Earth Day. A good place to start is the Student Conservation Association’s list of events for Earth Day. This year will be the SCA’s largest Earth Month celebration ever, with over 5,000 volunteers working on projects nationwide. Odds are, there’s an event near you, but if you can’t find one, start your own! The Earth Day Network provides action toolkits to get you started, with this year’s focus on reducing plastic pollution.

(SCA volunteers at Greenbelt National Park in Washington, DC in honor of Earth Day.)
Earth Day is a fundamental day of worldwide action. But, of course, it’s just one day out of 365. To make lasting change for our planet, we need to commit ourselves to making consistent, long-term conservation efforts—and that starts at home. For more info about ways to make positive change, check out our blog post on five easy changes you can make to help save the environment.