Every day is earth day when you’re a gardener, but if there’s one day you pull out all the stops make it Earth Day on April 22, a global day of environmental action in celebration of our living planet.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, which has been mobilising people on mass since 1970 when an oil spill devastated the Californian coast of Santa Barbara. While the world is gripped by the coronavirus pandemic, the organisers have opted to take things online – after all, we’re still in the midst of a climate catastrophe even if it isn’t dominating the headlines at the moment.
“Whether it be coronavirus or our global climate crisis, we cannot shut down,” said Kathleen Rogers, President of Earth Day Network.“ Instead, we must shift our energies and efforts to new ways to mobilize the world to action.” As gardeners and growers, there is plenty we can do to protect the planet while maintaining social distancing rules. Here are some ideas:
What can I do at home?
Don’t wait until April 22 to do your bit. Take the Earth Day Challenge for daily actions that can readily be done from home. For example, switching to a green energy supplier, composting creatively and planting a forest – (websites such as Treedom let you plant trees at the click of a button). If you have pets, consider switching to a more eco-friendly litter such as recycled woodchip or this litter which is collected and turned into fertiliser, which is then used to plant trees. Remember, doing a little good every day goes a long way, particularly when the world is working together.
This year, Earth Day is inviting everyone to fight climate change with diet change. And we reckon you’re more likely to stick with that plant-based diet if you’ve grown at least some of the veg yourself. Use the Foodprints for Future food calculator to find out the environmental impact of your diet and check out our most recent articles on growing your own below.
In line with this year’s theme of ‘climate action’, now could be a good time to become a vocal advocate for the environment. Whether that’s lobbying your local garden centre for their use of peat, raising environmental concerns with your local MP, or joining local volunteer groups – even if you can’t meet up just yet you can still make meaningful connections via Facebook groups.
What can I do in the garden?
From repurposing plastic containers as seed trays and making your own insecticide to learning how to conserve water, there are plenty of ways to garden for the planet. Check out the articles below to find out how to give your garden an eco-friendly makeover and pick up some top tips on wildlife-friendly gardening from the pros.
What can I do in my community?
While the Great Global Cleanup has been postponed, socially distanced litter picks can still go ahead. If you can ignore the silly name, plogging is a great way to get your daily exercise and clean up your local community. The idea being you go for a jog and pick up rubbish along the way. You could also use your one government-sanctioned outing to track the plastic pollution you collect and monitor the air quality in your area. Report your findings via the Earth Challenge 2020 app to help scientists get a global view on waste.
Terra Pascarosa, Virginia Campaign Manager at Earth Day says now is a good time to start a neighbourhood garden exchange. “Post on neighbourhood apps like Facebook, Nextdoor or OfferUp. I recently suggested a seed exchange, as well as repurposed wood (for building raised garden beds) and dirt swaps, with my neighbours — now we’re growing our spring gardens together, but separately.
“To ensure safe social distancing, exchange seeds, wood and dirt by leaving them in front of homes, or set up times to exchange them in a safe manner.” We’d add that you should only swap if you can incorporate the journey into your daily exercise. We’ve included some posting tips below, should you want to use Candide’s Market Place to share your plants.
How are you marking this year’s Earth Day? Share your thoughts and actions using the hashtags #EarthDay2020 and #EARTHRISE.