Tips for Celebrating Earth Day at Home With Your Family
As we seek to cultivate a passion for plants, gardens, and the environment, we invite you to join with us in celebrating sustainable living during our first virtual Earth Day celebration.
By Dawn Coleman Lee, Education Activities Specialist, Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Today the world celebrates its 50th Earth Day. Conceived by peace activist John McConnell at the 1969 UNESCO conference, Earth Day was originally scheduled to be recognized on March 21, 1970. Senator Gaylord Nelson proposed—and environmental advocate Denis Hayes organized and executed—the first Earth Day teach-in on April 22, 1970. We now recognize Earth Day nationally on this date: April 22.
In honor of the first Earth Day celebration, the Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens strives to make our annual Earth Day celebration participatory, practical, and a call to action. We originally planned to celebrate our 23rd annual Earth Day at the Gardens with all of our friends on Saturday, April 25. While we decided to cancel our in-person event as we follow public health directives and do our part to flatten the curve during COVID-19, we would still love to honor the day with you and your little ones. Our goal is to promote healthy communities, sustainable living, and human wellness through educational activities you can do at home with your family.
Here are five ways to celebrate a Sustainable Earth Day at home this year:
- Say no to single-use products. Even if just for the day, consider skipping single-use products during meal times.
- Pick up trash during your daily outdoor walk. Taking time out to get outside and stretch your legs has been encouraged during this time as long as you practice social distancing. Why not help keep your favorite trail or path a little nicer by picking up litter you find along the way.
- Eat less meat. There has also been a shortage of meat in most of our supermarkets. I’ve been searching Pinterest for new and interesting vegetarian meals just in case I can’t find the meat ingredients for some of my family's dinner staples and have been pleasantly surprised with the reception from my family and how we have not missed having meat at every meal.
- Use some of your recyclables for outdoor craft projects. Try out these fun ideas from parent bloggers: Make a bird feeder using your paper or plastic juice/milk containers or have fun with nature-based activities for young children.
- Discover how to use common household products for cleaning. (Note that this activity needs to be handled by mom and dad!) Many of us have noticed a shortage of cleaning products to help keep us all safe while quarantined at home. Finding your favorite products has become a rare delight. Many breweries and citizens have started making their own hand sanitizer to compensate, so explore how to clean and sanitize your kitchen using inexpensive household food-safe products, or try out these recipes for "green cleaners."
Want to dig even deeper into themes of Earth Day, sustainability, and the wonders of nature with your child? Explore these e-books recommended by Hope Long, Director of the Library at the Gardens. All are available through the Public Libraries of Jefferson County at jclc.org.
Also, consider virtually visiting some of our annual Earth Day exhibitors to learn more about what they do and more ways to live a sustainable life.
City of Birmingham Park & Recreation
(You can visit one of the city's many parks while practicing social distancing on Earth Day.)
Jefferson County Environmental Services
(Household cooking oil recycling program)