Earth Day From Home!

    These days, pretty much everything is canceled.  Things that only come once a year. Things people have been looking forward to.  Things people have been working towards.

     Earth Day is one of my favorite days every year.  It has been since I was a little kid.  I was lucky enough to have awesome parents and teachers, who taught me from a young age that I have the power and the responsibility to help care for our Earth.  Earth Day is a remembrance of both that power and that responsibility, and is a pretty good excuse for fun activities that we don’t usually fit into our days. And today is the 50th anniversary of the first ever Earth Day!

     In non Covid 19 times, Earth Day usually is filled with beach, park and river clean ups, city festivals with fun and informative booths, service projects and hikes among many others.

     But this year, we are home. And it feels strange to think about celebrating earth day at home. What can we do from home? What is the point? How do we think about anything besides cleaning, homeschooling our kids, following the news and baking sourdough?

Well friends, I am here to help!  I have put together a list of things you can do from home to help protect our Earth, ways to share it with your kids if you have them and a little giveaway to help us all celebrate!

Starting with the obvious...

Sew Something

    The fashion industry is a huge environmental offender.  Producing clothing takes enormous quantities of water, shipping clothing overseas uses enormous quantities of fossil fuels, and cheap poorly made clothing stacks up high in our landfills (and the human cost of producing those “cheap” clothes is a whole other, horrifying, conversation). 
    When you sew for yourself, especially when you use organic or sustainable produced fabrics, that environmental footprint becomes so much smaller!  You put love and care and attention into every garment you make which leads you to hold onto it for much longer.  You do high quality work, which also helps you hold onto it for longer.  Your home Sewing is not using the amount of water and contributing the amount of pollution that factory sewing contributes to.  And with organic or sustainable fabrics you are not contributing to pesticides poisoning the land, the animals and the water, killing the bees and causing cancer among farm workers.  
  So sew yourself something today, friends! I know it’s one of your favorite things and probably doesn’t take much convincing to get a project going.  

    If you don’t have the time today to sew a garment, are uninspired, in need of fabric or not in need of a new addition to your handmade wardrobe, there are so many great, simple, small things you can sew to help lessen your environmental impact.

    Reusable cleaning wipes are one of my very favorites and so helpful right now.  I have been planning a quick post about how to use a small piece of flannel to make a fun, colorful wipe (or a half yard of flannel to make 8 of them) that you can use with a bleach solution to disinfect or with water to wipe down the counters after cooking or even as washable diaper wipes, but didn’t quite get it done in time!  It will be a great tutorial to share with friends who are beginning sewists and I would love your help spreading it around if you know anyone wanting to learn more!  For those of you who already know how to sew, I am sure you can figure it out and it will be a great projects for kids learning to sew!  They can pick their own fabric from your stash and choose a fun thread color as well!  This absolutely counts as both art and science for homeschooling today!  When you are done they can write about what they learned doing it and then you have language arts covered as well!

Reusable cloth wipe on a kitchen window sill

     Reusable Snack/ Carry Your Treasure Around The House Bags are also a great beginner sewing project!  This tutorial is my favorite one and I love the way she shows all of the steps.  This also can be done with a small piece of fabric from your stash.  Older children can even read the directions, measure and cut the fabric themselves!  Math, language arts, science and art all in one activity! You are such an awesome teacher!

A chambray zipper pouch full of sewing notions

Plant Something

     This is a favorite activity for everyone around here this time of here!  Plant something for the pollinators, something to feed your family organic produce in a few months, or a tree to help produce oxygen for us all and shade for the future!  Tree roots also help hold top soil in place!  Double win for the environment!  And food and flowers can both be planted in containers if you don’t have a lot of space.  Even a small patio or deck will do the trick!  
     This also totally counts as homeschool science for the day! Have your kids draw and write about what they did to build in art and language arts.  Have them count and sort seeds or measure soil to put in seed starters.  Older kids can research what different types of plants need to thrive and make a plan to best grow your plants!

                  Zucchini seedling         Anemones

Start Composting

    So much food waste ends up in landfills and it is pretty easy to just turn it back to soil instead! And all that beautiful compost you produce will help your garden grow you more flowers and more food, a total win win!  This website is full of helpful information for getting started if you are new to composting!

Make That Sourdough Bread

    When you make that bread at home, you aren’t getting the plastic bag from grocery store bread that will end up in the trash, you aren’t using fossil fuels to get to the grocery store and it tastes so good (ok, so that last part isn’t’ really relevant t our Earth Day conversations, but I couldn’t leave it out). I have been using this recipe and having great success with it!

    And sourdough baking is definitely science.  Reading the recipe is language arts. Measuring ingredients math.  Are you sensing a theme here with my homeschooling connections?

    But before you get started make yourself a few of these wax wraps!  They are fun and easy to make and will let you cover your starter and your bread bowl without using plastic wrap! 

Sourdough bread

Write Letters!

   Letter writing campaigns have been a part of my environmental activism since fifth grade when Free Willy came out and I called that 1-800 number that came in the screen at the end of the credits.  No joke.  I organized all my classmates to get involved!

     You can write letters to your representatives urging them to protect the EPA, the endangered species act, Clean Air and Water regulations, local open spaces or to hold large corporations accountable for their environmental impact.  Your kids can also write letters and even draw pictures to send along!  If you don’t know who your representatives are or what their mailing addresses are, find them here!

    You can also write to local businesses or favorite online small businesses to ask them about their sustainability practices and urge them to use recycled packaging!

Donate Money To Environmental Organizations

     I know this one is the least fun, but is one of the most important.  There are some amazing organizations doing great work to protect our Earth and they need our help to keep doing that work.  Here are two of my favorites, but small, local organizations are also doing amazing work close to you, protecting areas you and your family can hopefully enjoy, and they always really, really appreciate any donations you can afford to give!

Natural Resources Defense,Council is an organization that has been working since 1970 to ensure the rights of all people to clean air, clean water and healthy communities.

Sierra Club was founded by John Muir and his friends way back in 1892 to protect California’s mountains and keep them accessible to everyone.  Since then they have turned into one of the largest and most influential grassroots environmental organizations in history.  They are helping to get coal power plants replaced with renewable power, they helped get the Clean Air and Endangered Species acts passed, they have protected hundreds of parks and monuments around the country and they know that environmental activism can not be separated from social justice because it is economically disadvantaged and communities of color that too often face the immediate, nearby danger from much of the environmental destruction in our world.  

And if you are local to me, Ventana Wilderness Alliance and Ecology Action are two great local, environmental nonprofits that could really use your support and involvement!

Tell me what you are doing from home today to celebrate and protect the Earth.  I would love to hear about it! Have I missed anything good that we should add to our day and our list?

Happy Earth Day 2020, friends! I hope you and everyone you love are well! I hope you are remembering your power and your responsibility to contribute to our world and sharing that with those around you!