Ideas for Celebrating Earth Day

Earth Day began in 1970 after a fire ravaged the Cuyahoga River in Ohio. More than 40 years later, the message remains crystal clear: Encourage social and political action. Here four ideas to lend a hand.

Earth Day is April 18. Every year, the environment comes to the forefront of our attention (if it's not already), and we take an opportunity to do our part. It's time to honor ours gorgeous rivers, air and forests. If you want to help celebrate Earth Day, there are a bunch of things you can do. Here are four good ones: 

1. Leave the Car at Home
Since cars and trucks are some of the biggest contributors of greenhouse gases (created by burning fossil fuels), skip the ride and find an eco-friendly alternative. According to Slate, a single gallon of gas sends 19 pounds of carbon dioxide into the air. To get to work, you can carpool, take the bus or train, arrange to work from home or ride your bike. Besides, spring is in the air. 

2. Plant a Tree
This is quintessential activity on Earth Day. Not only does planting a tree clean the air by absorbing carbon dioxide, they also provide oxygen, help conserve energy and prevent water pollution. In one year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the amount of CO2 produced from driving your car 26,000 miles, according to Tree People. They also cool the streets and the city. In fact, trees can cool the city by up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit, shading streets, lawns and homes, breaking up urban "heat islands" and releasing water vapor into the air through leaves.  

3. Write a Letter to Your Senator or Representative
Though writing a letter may not seem like much, it follows the spirit of Earth Day. Contact your senator, representative or someone else with the power to make large-scale change through legislation. To find the contact information, visit the Website of your state government, where you'll find the e-mail and mailing address. Then pick a cause – clean air, forest preservation, recycling, water safety – and tell your congressman or congresswoman how you feel. 

4. Switch to Energy-Saving Light bulbs
​Nearly 70 percent of light bulb sockets in the U.S. still contain inefficient light bulbs. But there's no better day to upgrade than Earth Day! Twisting in energy efficient bulbs will save you money in the long haul and cut pollution dramatically. Talk about energy efficiency!

Ilchi Lee, advocate of a sustainable world, says Earth Day marks a great time to understand the vitality and relationship we share with planet Earth. We are each citizens of the Earth who need to cut our carbon footprints and cherish our natural resources.