Commemorate the Spirit of Earth Day

1. Try your hand at guerrilla gardening!

Spruce up a neglected section of your urban jungle with a splash of unexpected color, from potholes and decommissioned newspaper boxes, to traffic medians and old posters plastered onto street poles. If your city frowns upon this subversive form of eco-expression, you can always strategically chuck a handful of seed bombs and then nonchalantly return to the scene of your crime with water (you might want to make that multiple times in areas suffering from persistent drought conditions).

2. Walk or cycle wherever you need to go the entire day!

Spring is in the air. Birds are chirping. The sky is bluer than it was at the beginning of the year. What a perfect time to ditch the gas guzzler in favor of a more intimate exploration of your ’hood via two legs. Whether you hop on a bicycle or hit the pavement armed with nothing but a sturdy pair of running shoes, you’ll benefit from the exercise-induced endorphins and likely gain a whole new appreciation for the surroundings that are normally just a blur when you whiz by in your car.

3. Host a ‘new-to-you’ swap-a-thon!

As tempting as it normally is to hit the mall in search of something shiny and new, you might discover that buying factory-fresh has nothing on the simple (and cheap) pleasure of swapping until you drop. Think about the fringe benefits of throwing your own swapping party: a) clean out your closets; b) keep stuff out of the landfill; c) make friends and family tickled pink with their new treasured discoveries; d) no out-of-pocket expense for newly acquired goodies; e) enjoy camaraderie. It’s a win-win all around, and if you add a potluck component to your gathering, your event will suddenly take on a life of its own when it becomes a monthly affair.

4. View an environmental-themed movie!

James Cameron’s Oscar-nominated Avatar, which highlights biodiversity loss and the harsh consequences of man’s impact on the environment, is just one in a long line of impactful movies that shed much-needed light on the world around us, imagined or not. Additional films that are well worth a look include Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth; Earthlings; Garbage Dreams; Food, Inc.; Crude; Waste Land; and The Cove, all of which force us to step out of our protective bubble and recognize that we must individually and collectively be the change that we want to see in the world.

5. Cultivate your personal style with vintage or upcycled duds!

Haven’t you heard? Everything old is new again, and that goes double for threads found in vintage shops and consignment boutiques. Not only are yesterday’s fashions manufactured with a higher standard of craftsmanship and raw materials (compared to what rolls off of modern-day factory lines), but they are also infinitely more affordable and enable people to break free from cookie-cutter limitations. Plus, a great deal of the fun can be hand in the thrill of the hunt.

6. Turn $1 into a greener future!

Of course you can spare a single greenback… and maybe even 10 of them if you participate in recycling programs that offer financial rewards. Those dollars will come in handy whether you donate them to John Denver’s nonprofit Plant-It 2020 organization (which plants indigenous trees around the globe at a mere $1 per seedling) or The Nature Conservancy’s Plant A Billion Trees program (which echoes a similar theme). The whole point is that for the price of a value menu item at a fast food joint, you’ll be able to single-handedly rejuvenate the atmosphere with much-needed greenhouse gas torching powers at a rate of 48 pounds of CO2 absorbed annually per tree.

7. Primp and preen on the green!

You could easily treat yourself to a luxurious DIY spa experience using naturally rejuvenating recipes cooked up in your kitchen, an effort that would admittedly save a great deal of money.

8. Offer wildlife a cozy little refuge! (bat house/birdhouse made with recycled materials)

Whether you have children, you happen to be crafty or you just want to do something nice for Mother Nature’s creatures, there’s a simple yet fun way that you can lend a hand. Poke around in your recycling bins and/or locate materials wallowing away in your garage (or even your garden) that are ripe for the construction of miniature housing. That’s right. Make a birdhouse, bat house or, yes, even a bee house! We’re not the only species that needs a protective roof over our heads, especially with that crazy weather out there.

9. Participate in eco-themed contests!

Going green doesn’t (and shouldn’t) have to be about sacrifice. Countless contests, like The 10th International Art Contest For A Green Environment, the National Zoo’s Stomp Out Carbon contest and the FFFashion Fur Free Fashion Competition prove that it’s really all about exercising your noggin and coming up with unique ways to think outside the box.

10. Knock back an organically produced brew!

Wow, I can raise a glass or two to Mother Nature and conveniently add glimmer to my increasingly green halo? This is a lot easier than I thought. Mm hmm, as it turns out, sustainably produced libations are rather wonderful, not only for the environment, but also for one’s health and taste buds, so drink up. Once you’ve drained your bottles, earn extra brownie (I mean “greenie”) points by transforming them into handy tumblers that you can use day in and day out. Glug-glug-glug for Momma Nature!