5 Ways to Get Involved on Earth Day

I want to be able to see sights like this for years to come!
Though we can all make decisions that show appreciation for Mother Nature year round, Earth Day is the perfect day to focus more on what you can do to protect, preserve, and conserve our planet.

If you're not sure what to do, or need more ideas, try one or all of these, and I'd love to hear what you're doing to celebrate Earth Day in the comments!

Learn about climate issues and legislation, and make your voice heard.

After the most recent presidential election, I found myself more anxious about what would become of our environment and the public lands I hold dear than I'd ever been. I focused on figuring out what I could do and learn, and what actions I could take to support local, national, and international policies to combat climate change and protect public lands.

Start by learning more about climate change, and research legislation proposed that'll either make a positive impact on efforts to fight it along with legislation that won't. (It's actually really neat to read the text of legislation!)

Call and/or write to your representatives in the House, Congress, and other offices to help make your voice heard. Websites like 5calls.org and organizations like Protect Our Winters and the Sierra Club are great places to start learning more about what you can do. Plus, the People's Climate March is coming up on April 29th.

Get involved in local environmental causes.

If addressing climate change is important to you, donating to organizations like the Environmental Defense FundNatural Resources Defense CouncilSierra Club Foundation, and Trust for Public Land are great places to start. According to Outside Magazine, these are among the organizations where your donation goes furthest.

I don't know what I'd do without local trails, and am grateful for organizations that work to protect them!

In addition to donations, getting involved in local causes and organizations can make a huge impact in your backyard. If public lands are important to you, find your town, city, county, or state parks organization to look for volunteer opportunities. If you're interested in preserving trails, the American Hiking Society is a great place to start. You can also find your local chapter of the Sierra Club, visit Volunteer Match, or use Google to find opportunities in your city or town.

Stop unwanted catalogs and mail.

Whether you subscribe to magazines, order products, or sign up for memberships for any kind of organization, it's possible you'll find yourself getting an incredible amount of unwanted mail. According to 41pounds.org, more than 100 million trees are destroyed each year to produce junk mail and $320 million in local taxes is used to dispose of junk mail.

An incredible number of trees are cut down to make the paper that feeds the junk mail machine. 

The key to stopping unwanted mail is getting your name off of mailing lists, and organizations like Catalog Choice can send catalog opt-out requests on your behalf. You can also look for phone numbers on catalogs, credit card offers, or other junk mail and call with a request to be removed from a mailing list. And the next time you sign up for something, or order something, read the organization's privacy policy to prevent junk mail from the start.

Introduce a friend or family member to your favorite outdoor activity.

One of the best ways I've found to build advocacy for public lands, trails, waterways, and more is to help others understand how special they are. And people won't typically support or advocate for something they don't have a connection to, so this Earth Day, and this year, help connect other people to outdoor places that are important to you. 

Volunteering to lead an outing, or just taking a friend or family member outdoors can help build stewardship and advocacy.

Take a friend or family member on a hike to your favorite scenic spot, on a visit to your favorite lake or river, even a drive or bike ride along a piece of protected land. Building stewardship starts with connections, and the stronger the connection people have to a place, or an idea, the more they'll be compelled to advocate for it.

Support companies advocating for our environment.

In the outdoor space, many companies are taking an interest in helping all of us be better stewards of our public lands, and of the Earth in general.
  • The Conservation Alliance is a group of companies that disburses annual membership dues to grassroots environmental organizations and community-based campaigns to protect threatened wild habitat and outdoor recreation. Take a look at their #WeKeepItWild campaign.
  • Vapur, manufacturer of the flexible, reusable Anti-Bottle launched the Vapur Hydration Program, and they're tracking an incredible number of bottles diverted from landfills. Trade in your plastic water bottles for a reusable Vapur bottle, using code EARTHDAY for 40% off everything as part of their Earth Day celebration.
  • According to Regan Betts, Director of Brand for Ibex, the company has been part of the #WeKeepItWild campaign since 2014, and contributes 10% of all sales on Earth Day to the Conservation Alliance. The Ibex team also organizes two all-company service days throughout the year where they partner with local agencies to clean-up lands and rivers.
  • Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard built environmental stewardship, activism, and advocacy in to the company's DNA. They're doing some incredible things all year round.
How are you planning to get involved this Earth Day? What companies do you know of that are particularly strong advocates for the environment? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!