Celebrating Earth Day

Happy Earth Day everyone! For those of you who don't know, Earth Day started as a grassroots movement and is now an annual event celebrating the planet's environment in an effort to raise public awareness about man-made pollution. The first Earth Day happened in 1970 after it was proposed by Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. Nelson, after seeing the catastrophic damage done by the massive 1969 Santa Barbara, CA oil spill, was inspired to organize a national "teach-in" focused on educating the public about the environment. Since then, April 22 is observed worldwide with rallies, conferences, outdoor activities, and service projects in an effort to get people outdoors and reconnect with the world around them. Below, are some easy ways you can celebrate Earth Day 2015.

Watch environmentally-minded TED Talks.
Check out this list of 12 TED Talks to watch this Earth Day. The topics range from climate crisis, ocean research, green tech, plastic pollution, sustainability, and many more (all for free).

Ditch your microbead cleanser.
If you use any of these skin cleansers, you're using a cleanser with microbeads. In theory, microbeads act as exfoliates to help you remove dead skin cells during your daily beauty routine. However, these plastic microbeads (also known as polyethylene) create small tears in your skin that actually leave your skin more prone to bacteria and breakouts. Also, one bottle of cleanser has roughly 350,000 microbeads. That, combined with the fact that microbeads absorb pollutants (like DDT and other cancer-causing chemicals), is the reason microbeads are awful for the environment. Once your cleanser goes down the drain, these thousands of pollutant-attracting bits of plastic are consumed by marine life who become increasingly poisoned thanks to biomagnification. Instead of microbeads, opt for these skin cleansers with all-natural exfoliates like sugar, jojoba, coffee grounds, or charcoal. 

Plan a trip to a National Park.
The National Park Service turns 100 years old on August 25, 2016! In celebration, The National Park Service and National Park Foundation are teaming up for the Find Your Park campaign. The Find Your Park website makes it easier than ever to visit, share, and support the National Parks. Celebrate Earth Day by planning a summer trip to a National Park that catches your eye (I sure did!).

Purchase (and use) a canvas bag.
Did you know the average length of time a plastic bag will exist on earth is 1,000 years? You would accumulate 1,000 fewer bags this year if you switched to reusable bags when shopping (especially grocery shopping). Purchase canvas bags with cool graphics, witty sayings, or that benefit causes you care about so that you'll want to take them shopping. If you're looking to purchase bags, Etsy has some great canvas bag options (this one is my personal favorite if you're forgetful like me).

Host a Netflix marathon.
Some of the best environmental movies and documentaries available on Netflix right now are Chasing Ice, The Blue Planet, More Than Honey, Tapped, Food Inc., Born Free, Blackfish, The Whale, and Virunga

Go outside!
Go for a walk outside today at your local park, beach, or neighborhood, and earn bonus points by throwing away ten pieces of litter.

Give up bottled water.
Watch this video called The Story of Bottled Water. Did you know the production of water bottles uses 17 million barrels of oil a year, and it takes three times the water to make the bottle as it does to fill it (Business Insider)? Instead of buying cases of plastic water bottles, purchase a single, reusable water bottle. My favorite brands are Klean Kanteen and Nalgene, both of which you can purchase on Amazon for as low as $10. My water bottles have my college emblems on them and are decorated with stickers I've collected from my favorite causes and travels. If you personalize your water bottle, you 'll want to carry it around town. Plus, apps like WeTap make finding nearby public drinking fountains a breeze when looking to fill-up your water bottle.

Visit your local farmer's market.
Locally grown food is easier on the environment. Find farmer's markets near you, and help support local farmers!

Go paperless.
Bills come in many forms- typically on paper. Many bill-paying services offer an option to pay your bills online. This Earth Day, check the "paperless bill pay" box and go green.

Support a cause.
Support an environmental cause you care about. You can support a cause by donating money, liking/following the organization on social media to get in on the conversation, attending the organization's upcoming events, or messaging the organization's leadership asking how you can best get involved. Some of my favorite causes are Flow Hive, Save the Mermaids, Keep Tahoe Blue, The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, and Environmental Volunteers.

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