5 Easy Ways to Celebrate Earth Day This Year

farmers market nc

Earth Day is Thursday, April 22, 2021, and the spring holiday feels different this year… again.

Environmental educators across the Triangle say they miss the chance to apply temporary tattoos to tiny arms and give away flower seeds to eager adults. Chelseaspeaks 25aug2019Their prize wheels are dusty from months without use, and they’re wondering how quickly you’ll sign up when they can supplement virtual events with in-person hikes and tours.

In the meantime, they applaud you for adjusting and adapting. Flex those resilience muscles!

Just because there aren’t festivals this year doesn’t mean your family can’t still celebrate Earth Day and Earth Month in your own ways.

In the spirit of unexpected adventure, here are five ways to celebrate Earth Day in 2021.


1. Visit a park to learn about composting.

Blue Jay Point County Park

Did you know International Compost Awareness Week is May 2 through 8 this year?

In Wake County, Harris Lake County Park, Blue Jay Point County Park, and the Town of Cary’s Bond Park all have outdoor exhibits where you can learn about composting.


2. Turn your jog into a plog.

Plogging Nc

Nature has sustained many of us this past year, and the change of seasons provided a comforting rhythm when nearly everything else felt out of sync. Why not give back to the environment that sustains us?

The next time you head out for a walk, put on gloves and grab a trash bag. Take heart in knowing that picking up litter in the Triangle prevents in from entering the Neuse or Cape Fear Rivers, and eventually the ocean. You’re keeping the beach clean for your next visit!


3. Practice patience when you throw away.

Socialdistancesignsite4 Bianca Howard

Sanitation departments have grappled with a noticeable uptick in trash as we’ve all spent more time in our homes and less in workplaces. Wake County residents who visit Convenience Centers to dispose of waste will rarely find themselves alone.

Check the website of your local solid waste or public works department to understand what goes where. Don’t waste your time and gas going to a facility that doesn’t accept the items you need to get rid of!

Go on a weekday if you can, keep your distance from others, and remember that this, too, shall pass.


4. Support restaurants in “going green.”

no single use plastic

Thank restaurants that give you the ability to avoid unnecessary condiments, cutlery, napkins and straws. Ideally, restaurants and delivery services would require you to opt in, meaning you wouldn’t get utensils, for example, unless you specifically requested them.

Until that day comes, use your voice—and dollars—to let your favorite places know you want to help them keep costs low by not giving you stuff you don’t need.

Check out the #SkipTheStuff campaign for inspiration on how some cities are safely moving from disposables to reusables in stores and restaurants.


5. Take one small step to avoid waste.

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Maybe you’re up to your eyeballs with reading texts from your child’s school about the latest calendar changes, or perhaps you’re waking up extra early to make a vaccine appointment. If it feels impossible to add one more thing to your to-do list, we get it!

When you do have the energy, try one of these small changes to reduce your environmental impact this month:

  • Buy eggs directly from a farmer. You’ll get fresher eggs and can probably return the carton for reuse.
  • Grow your own herbs. Avoid the plastic boxes and bags that are usually used for small quantities of fresh herbs at grocery stores.
  • Explore a farmers market. Markets offer everything from baked treats to bath bombs. Feel good supporting the local economy while avoiding the emissions—and boxes—associated with shopping online.
  • Replace a single-use item with a more sustainable alternative. Your kids might not be ready for toothpaste tablets or a bamboo toothbrush, but you could try them yourself the next time you get ready to replace your toothpaste or toothbrush.
  • Check out the No Straw Please podcast episode, “One Small Step,” for more ideas on tiny changes you can try.

Happy Earth Month!

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