Earth Month

Earth Month: Why it Matters and How to Celebrate & Get Involved

As April awakens, we greet Earth Month, a global tribute to our magnificent home planet and its pressing need for preservation. 

Earth Month, birthed from the dynamic environmental movements of the 1970s, has matured from a single day--Earth Day on April 22--into a whole month of environmental advocacy.

Earth Month centers around a call to grow our environmental consciousness. As such, this observance provokes vital discussions on climate change, deforestation, pollution, and the ever-present water crisis. It's an invitation to scrutinize our planet's environmental strife, dig into its root causes, and explore the many solutions we hold in our hands.

Earth Month also recognizes our planet's stunning beauty and the delicate balance of its ecosystems. This time of year is instrumental in rallying support for environmental initiatives, providing a platform to converse, clash, and comprehend the countless ways we can shape a healthier world. 

Featured in: April - Awareness Months, Days & Observances.

Earth Month History and Background

Blue clouds
Photo by Joshua Woroniecki on Unsplash

Earth Month beginnings can be traced back to U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson and activist John McConnell. United by a shared concern for the environment, they established Earth Day on April 22nd, 1970. Their motivation to celebrate Earth Day stemmed from the vibrant student anti-war movement, and they wanted to bring similar energy to combat environmental justice, air and water pollution.

The establishment of Earth Day sparked a wave of environmental legislation, contributing to the enactment of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act. These substantial policies laid the groundwork for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Earth Day movement evolved into Earth Month by 1990. Denis Hayes, the national coordinator of the inaugural Earth Day event, was the expansion's champion

The Earth Month Network, a non-profit organization committed to environmental protection and sustainability education, was critical to this expansion. Offering resources, support, and partnership opportunities, the Earth Month Network serves as a global hub for Earth Month activities, propelling the momentum of the initiative worldwide. 

Additionally, Earth Month, celebrated annually, wasn't confined to the United States; its reach has spread to 200 million people across 141 countries. Such global participation thrust environmental concerns into the international limelight, setting the stage for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

Today, Earth Month is a vibrant tapestry of activities. From community clean-ups right next door to large-scale educational campaigns that span continents, it keeps the spirit of environmental stewardship alive. 

Related: Click on to our Earth quotes for wise words and sayings in support of this important observance.

The Cause and Its Challenges

bees and flowers
Photo by Laura Lauch on Unsplash.

As Earth Month dawns upon us, we face the stark reality of the environmental challenges our planet is up against. It's a tangled web of climate change, deforestation, water, land and air pollution, and biodiversity loss, to name just a few. Each issue is not isolated but rather intricately interwoven, just as the threads in the grand tapestry of Earth's ecosystem. 

Take climate change, for instance - our globe has been feverish, with average temperatures rising by around 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit since the 19th century. The culprit? The surge in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions from human activities.

We find that a significant portion of society remains blissfully unaware or grossly underestimates the severity of these environmental challenges. It's a paradox of sorts. Some communities bear the brunt of the brunt, especially in developing nations. 

These are the communities that have ironically contributed the least to the degradation of the environment. Picture coastal communities struggling with the heightened intensity of storms and the encroaching sea levels - a nightmarish gift of climate change.

Let's take a moment to think about biodiversity, too. It's staggering - the abundant variety of life on our planet is under threat like never before. 

According to the World Wildlife Fund, the population of mammals, birds, fish, and reptiles has seen a precipitous 69% decline between 1970 and 2022. These losses have a domino effect, disrupting the delicate equilibrium of ecosystems and threatening the survival of countless species - yes, including us humans. 

Therefore, Earth Month is a reminder of these monumental challenges and a rallying call to comprehend the urgency and raise awareness of tackling these issues head-on for a more sustainable future.

5 Reasons Earth Day Matters

Canopy green trees
Photo by Ed van duijn on Unsplash.
  • Climate scientists are unanimous - our earth is under siege2. The mounting climate crisis is more than just hotter summers. It's a ticking time bomb, with sea levels rising steadily and the global thermostat heading north. All largely due to our carbon emissions, related atmospheric pollutants, and the harm we’re doing to nature’s balance.
  • Have you ever found solace beneath the canopy of a forest? Picture that forest, and then imagine 27 soccer fields of trees being wiped off the earth each minute. That's the grim reality of deforestation. But why does this matter? Trees are nature's own carbon vacuum cleaners, tirelessly sucking up CO2, a significant contributor to global warming. As such, when we cut down trees, we're essentially disarming ourselves in the fight against climate change3.
  • Now, let's talk trash. Envision a garbage truck filled to the brim with plastic, then multiply that by every person you've ever met. That's what we're dumping into our oceans yearly — a whopping 8 million tons of plastic. It's a disaster for marine life, and this plastic pollution has entered our food chain, impacting us in ways we're just starting to comprehend.
  • Species are vanishing at 1,000 to 10,000 times the natural extinction rate. We're the culprit. Our actions are pushing numerous species to the brink of extinction1.
  • Finally, think about our lifestyle, the resources we use, and the waste we generate. It's a pattern that's speeding us toward environmental catastrophe. Earth has its rhythm of recovery, but we're testing its limits. The concept of sustainability isn't just a feel-good term anymore. It's a lifeline we must seize to give our planet a fighting chance.

25 Simply Ways To Celebrate Earth Month And Make A Difference

Less os more sign
Photo by Nik on Unsplash.

1. Plant a Tree

Engage with nature directly by planting a tree or supporting tree planting projects. When we plant trees, we help reduce CO2 levels, add oxygen to the atmosphere, and provide habitats for various species. As such, getting our hands dirty planting trees is a practical and immediate way to contribute to the well-being of Mother Earth.

2. Adopt a Vegan Day

Give a single day a week or month to vegan living or consciously choose to eat less meat. Raising livestock for meat, eggs, and milk generates significant greenhouse gases. Even one day can make a remarkable difference.

3. Start Composting

Make use of organic kitchen waste and start composting at home. This reduces landfill waste while enriching your home garden soil with natural nutrients. Check out our guides to what you can and can’t compost and urban composting for tips and how to get started. And/or look out locally for people taking the initiative to compost, many of whom might offer free compost for use in the garden. The better supported they are, the more we take small steps to reduce waste.

4. Engage in a Clean-Up

Earth day cleanup volunteers
Photo by Steve Jewett on Unsplash.

Alone or in groups, spending a day cleaning up a local park, beach, or neighborhood removes plastic pollution from the environment and contributes to healthier and stronger communities. We’ve more info on how to run a beach cleanup event if you’d like to organize your own. 

5. Donate to Conservation Organizations

Financial support for organizations leading environmental preservation initiatives has a cumulative impact. Every bit counts towards preserving nature's beauty and health.

6. Bike More, Drive Less

Switch to cycling for short errands. It’s healthy for you and significantly reduces your environmental footprint.

7. Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Apply the golden 4 Rs: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Minimize waste, get creative with reusing items, and responsibly recycle what you can. Read our recycling tips for more info. 

8. Conserve Water

Take shorter showers, turn off the tap while brushing, and be mindful of your laundry and dishwashing practices. Every drop conserved is vital. Find out more about why water conservation is important, and learn more in our tips to save water waste at home

9. Switch to Green Energy

Wind Turbines Sunset
Photo by Karsten Würth on Unsplash.

Opt for renewable energy sources. Switch to a renewable energy provider, and If you can't change your energy provider, even simple steps like using energy-efficient appliances can help substantially. Many other ways also exist to support climate solutions, from crowdfunding renewable energy to helping your school go solar

10. Invest in a Reusable Water Bottle

Eliminate the need for environmentally harmful single-use plastic bottles. Not only is this cost-effective, but carrying a reusable water bottle you can fill up at water refill stations on the go dramatically reduces plastic waste.

11. Go Paperless

Kick off a bit of admin spring cleaning and shift to digital billing to reduce paper waste. Encourage companies to do the same.

12. Promote the Pollinators

Plant locally sourced flowering plants that attract bees and butterflies. These pollinators play a crucial role in our ecosystem and need our help. Check out our butterfly and bee facts for more info. 

13. Support Green Businesses

Pay attention to the eco-practices of the businesses you support. Opt for those contributing positively to the environment. Thinking of starting your own? Check out our sustainable business ideas

14. Educate Yourself and Others

Knowledge is power. As such, the more you understand environmental issues, the better you’ll be able to spread the word. We have great selections of sustainable living books, plastic pollution documentaries, and climate change films for a great place to start. Or, more formally, consider environmental studies as your next personal development goal.

15. Eat Locally

Support local farmers and reduce your carbon footprint. Food has less distance to travel from farm to table, meaning fewer food miles, and often tastes better!

16. Avoid Fast Fashion

The clothing industry is a major environmental offender. Choose quality over quantity, ditch fast fashion, consider second-hand shopping, and instead pick up a unique find at an online thrift store

17. Limit the Use of Hazardous Chemicals

Opt for natural, biodegradable, and zero-waste cleaning products. Not only safer for us but for our aquatic ecosystems too.

18. Switch to Reusable Shopping Bags

Bid farewell to single-use plastic bags. Carry your own reusable shopping bags. Not only are they sturdier, but they're also much more environmentally friendly.

19. Invest in a Bamboo Toothbrush

A small but significant switch. Bamboo toothbrushes are an excellent alternative to traditional plastic ones, which can take over 400 years to decompose!

20. Opt for Reusable Kitchen Wraps

Ditch the clingfilm. Beeswax wraps, or silicone lids, are excellent plastic wrap alternatives designed to be reused for long, significantly reducing kitchen waste.

21. Use a Shampoo Bar

Shampoo Bars
Photo by FitNish Media on Unsplash.

Time to also wave goodbye to single-use plastic shampoo bottles. Shampoo bars last longer and have minimal, often completely biodegradable, packaging.

22. Choose Cloth Over Paper

Another simple action is replacing single-use towels with reusable paper towels made from cloth in the kitchen. They can be washed and reused for years, reducing waste and saving money. Plus, they are more durable and absorbent than their disposable counterparts! Also, save those old t-shirts and fabric scraps and cut them into cleaning rags for use around the home.

23. Engage Your Community

Organize ecological activities and get your community involved. Collective action achieves significant change. Additionally, check out our ideas for community events for some inspiration. 

24. Celebrate Earth Hour

Spend an hour with the lights off. Saving electricity and raising awareness is a win-win.

25. Set up a Bird Feeder

Bird feeder
Photo by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash.

Encourage local bird populations. Native birds have a significant role to play in local ecosystems and are also a joy to watch. Read up on our bird facts for more about our feathered friend's important role in our ecosystems.

Share The Earth Day Love

As we adopt these practices to make our homes and lives more eco-friendly, let’s extend these actions further by sharing our journey on social media! 

Whether it's a picture of your new bamboo toothbrush, the flowers you planted for pollinators, a clean-up drive you joined, or maybe your first homemade compost pile, your every step can inspire others. 

Use compelling narrative or captions to describe what prompted your action and why it's essential. Furthermore, increase visibility by using relevant hashtags like #EarthMonth, #MotherEarth, #ZeroWaste, and #ClimateChange. Need help figuring out where to start? You can also share a few of our nature quotes or environmental sayings to get the ball rolling. 

Conclusion

Earth Month stirs us, prompting a deeper examination of our daily habits and their ramifications on our beautiful planet and its future inhabitants.

But awareness is merely the starting point—true transformation blooms from action. So, as we swing into Earth Month, let's endeavor to mobilize. Pledge to start your sustainability journey and adopt one sustainable practice, curb waste, or champion an eco-friendly initiative. Furthermore, when multiplied by millions, each small act leads to a collective impact, a unified quest to shield our irreplaceable Earth.

We wield the power. The time is ripe to channel this power toward molding a sustainable world.

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Pin Image Portrait Earth Month: Why it Matters and How to Celebrate & Get Involved
1

S. L. Pimm et al., The biodiversity of species and their rates of extinction, distribution, and protection. Science344,1246752 (2014). DOI:10.1126/science.1246752

2

 Cook, J., Nuccitelli, D., Green, S. A., Richardson, M., Winkler, B., Painting, R., ... & Skuce, A. (2013). Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature. Environmental Research Letters, 8(2), 024024.

3

Yadvinder Malhi et al., Climate Change, Deforestation, and the Fate of the Amazon. Science319,169-172(2008). DOI:10.1126/science.1146961

Photo by Nitish Kadam on Unsplash
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