Be honest: When was the last time you took part in an Earth Day activity that made a real, lasting impact on the health of our planet? For most of us, it was back in high school, or maybe during college, if we were the ecologically-conscious type.
But now we’re busy adults. And won’t there will always be someone else willing to plant trees on Earth Day, or pick up garbage from the side of the road?
Well, maybe. But maybe not. And the state of the environment is getting worse—not better.
The atmosphere today holds more carbon dioxide than at any other time in the past 800,000 years, and that 25 percent of that carbon dioxide is produced in the United States. Did you know that the negative effects of climate change cost our country an estimated $100 billion each year?
There has never been a more important time to do something to improve the state of this big blue marble we call home. So when Earth Day 2016 rolls around (it’s on Friday, April 22), why not get together with a small group of friends or co-workers and organize a fun activity that will make you feel proud about the way you spent your weekend?
Here are a few ideas to get your started.
Plant a Tree
Planting trees is a classic Earth Day activity. It’s a process that cleans the air and adds much-needed oxygen to your environment. It also beautifies the space in which it’s planted, and it can be an excellent way to teach your children about the long-lasting positive effects that even small environmental actions can make.
At Mendham Gardens, we carry many fruit bearing trees including apple, peach, cherry, pear. Growing your own fruit teaches children about the process of pollination and growth and will give them a better understanding of how our natural systems work together. Also, they get the added benefit of picking and eating a nutritious home-grown snack. They also have a great selection of ornamental trees like dogwoods, weeping cherries, pears, magnolias etc.
To help you get started planting, we have a selection of garden supplies in New Jersey including gloves, spades, and lots of other planting supplies, available at any of Mendham Garden Center’s three locations.
Enjoy the Great Outdoors
What could be a better way to celebrate our earth than by enjoying the free, natural beauty it offers us every day? Since Earth Day 2016 falls on a Friday, consider celebrating with a weekend picnic in your favorite park, take a minute and observe the beautiful flowers and trees in bloom, followed by a friendly game of Frisbee or touch football. Or simply take a long, slow walk in a natural part of your town that you’ve never before explored. A lazy weekend afternoon spent in nearly any of the area’s parks is almost guaranteed to make you appreciate the earth’s natural gifts in a new way.
Organize a Letter Writing Party
Writing a letter to your congressperson may seem like an exercise in futility. But it can be an incredibly useful civic task if only because so few concerned citizens take the time to do it. If there’s an environmental cause that you and a few friends share—recycling, green construction, or even the state of your city’s drinking water—put some words to paper. Let your elected officials know how you feel.
Build Your First Compost Bin
Imagine the lessons you’ll teach your children by helping them create their first compost bin. Yes, it’s a slightly icky project, but it can be done for very little money, and in a relatively brief amount of time; a few hours are all you’ll need. There’s not enough room here to explain the process of setting up a composting system, but it really is as simple as putting a large plastic trash can under your kitchen sink, where you’ll collect your compostables, and building a backyard bin that can be made out of old wood scraps or strong wire. If DYI is not for you, Mendham Garden Center sells compost bins. A quick Google search will lead you to all manner of websites that will show you how to create your own. And if you’d rather purchase a ready-made compost bin, you can do that, too. The larger point, of course, is that you’ll be keeping an enormous amount of trash out of our already overflowing landfills. And that’s a wonderful thing.
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There are many other ways to celebrate Earth Day, and we encourage you to find an activity that speaks to you and your interests. But more importantly, we urge you to find an activity that you’ll be willing to continue, at least sporadically, throughout the year. Because Earth Day, after all, is really a reminder that we need to spend more time, and more energy, taking good care of our planet on a regular basis.
Don’t forget: If you need any garden supplies for your Earth Day activities, Mendham Garden Center is your go-to source. Come see us at any of our three New Jersey locations, in Mendham, Chester, or Annandale. All three locations will have specials going on!!