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Celebrating Earth Day’s 50th anniversary (with physical distancing)

April is known as Earth Month, and April 22 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. This worldwide event is celebrated every year, and is recognized as the planet’s largest civic event. Earth Day is also credited with starting the modern environmental movement.

History

During the first Earth Day in 1970, more than 20 million Americans joined across the county in parks, campuses, and on streets to advocate for healthier and more sustainable communities. The goal was to bring awareness to the many environmental issues of the time. The first Earth Day is credited with leading to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the federal Clean Water, Clean Air, and Endangered Species acts. Since its inaugural celebration, Earth Day has become a global event where communities around the world gather to help protect the planet.

How You Can Celebrate This Year

In celebration of the 50th anniversary, you are invited to join us in living a more sustainable lifestyle. There are many ways you can help our planet even during these difficult times and while physically distancing. Not sure where to start? We are here to help. Consider taking the following sustainability tips and actions that you can do from home:

Energy

  • Close the curtains during the hottest time of the day to block out the heat.

    Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

  • Engage your household members in games and activities that don’t involve electronics.
  • Run your dishwasher on full loads only and use the air-dry option.
  • Let foods cool down before putting them in the refrigerator or freezer and ensure your refrigerator’s gasket has a tight seal.
  • Use a smart power strip to manage plug loads.
  • Upgrade to ENERGY STAR products such as LED lightbulbs, fans, or appliances.
  • When it’s time for your next vehicle, upgrade to a more fuel-efficient model, like an electric vehicle.

Food

  • Buy locally grown food. (List of where you can purchase from local producers)

    UF/IFAS Photo by Camila Guillen

  • Buy only what you need to reduce food waste.
  • Grow food in your own home garden, if possible.
  • Regrow fruits and vegetables from food scraps.
  • Compost food scraps to reduce food waste and create your own natural fertilizer.
  • Make your own food wraps using beeswax instead of plastic wrap. (DIY instructions)

Water

  • Don’t flush unwanted or expired medication.
  • Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth or shaving.
  • Fix plumbing leaks in your home, especially in toilets.
  • Choose WaterSense labeled products for water efficiency.
  • Use a rain barrel for garden irrigation.
  • Water your landscape during the coolest part of the day and only on designated days.
  • Use a garden hose nozzle on your hose when watering by hand.

Natural Environment

UF/IFAS Photo by Camila Guillen

  • Get outside and exercise, where possible, following safety guidelines given our current situation.
  • Pick up after your pets when you take them on a walk.
  • Plant a garden with your household members.
  • Practice Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ in your garden.
  • Use green cleaning products or make your own disinfectants at home.
  • Create a homemade bird feeder using items around your home.

Waste

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

  • Buy durable, locally produced products with little or no packaging.
  • Buy products made with high levels of post-consumer recycled content.
  • Avoid single-use items like napkins, plastics bags, utensils, or water bottles. Encourage others to use reusable alternatives too.
  • Buy second-hand products and donate items you no longer need.
  • Reduce, reuse, and recycle.

More Involvement From Home

Get more involved with sustainability through our online resources below. Help create a more sustainable community for generations to come by staying connected with us, while staying safe in your home.

Upcoming Webinars in April

The “Earth Day 50” sustainability webinars will continue throughout the rest of the year in celebration of Earth Day’s 50th anniversary. Keep an eye out for those webinars every month in 2020.

Additional Online Resources

You can also look forward to our 15th Annual Sustainable Communities Workshop and a training session for new interested volunteers for our Energy Coach Volunteer Program later this year.

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