Tomorrow, April 22nd, is the 47th annual celebration of Earth Day, a time to honor the fragile planet we all call home. With scientists and the president at odds about global warming, the rapid defunding of the Environmental Protection Agency and the speed at which fauna and flora populations are going extinct it has never been more important to celebrate Earth Day. In fact, it would do us good to start celebrating Earth Day every day.
Yet even as our ecological footprint continues to grow, our impact doesn’t have to be a lost cause. There are many things you can do starting today to help learn about and protect our environment. Here are a few really good ones. Happy Earth Day!
1. March for Science: If you are a fan of evidence-based decision making, show your support, along with estimated crowds of thosands around the world, tomorrow at Seattle's March for Science. Find more details at the event page here.
2. Check out a local eco-artist. Seattle is full of artists who work with reused and recycled materials, or celebrate the preservation of nature in their creations. For example, John Grade’s Middle Fork, a gigantic 140-foot western hemlock recreated from pieces of reclaimed cedar, now on view at SAM. Or, there’s Buster Simpson, whose green-minded sculptures are up all over Seattle, or Evan Blackwell, who uses re-purposed materials like plastic straws for his art. If you want to participate in eco-arts yourself, there’s even an EcoARTS program at the Nature Consortium that offers day camps, classes and events for kids and adults.
3. Write a letter to your senator about the E.P.A. budget cuts. Worried about the drastic cuts to the E.P.A.? Write a letter to Washington State senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell. It’s easy! There forms for how to write it online, ad it’s also easy to access Senators' contact information online. Your concerns will be in good company, too; both Murray and Cantwell helped draft a proposal to reverse Trump’s cuts to the E.P.A.
4. Go shopping at IKEA! It's now home to the largest solar array in the state. The new IKEA in Renton has a whopping 244,000 square foot array that will generate enough solar energy for the store that's "the equivalent of reducing 886 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, which is equal to the emissions of 187 cars or providing electricity for 131 homes yearly," according to the Puget Sound Business Journal. The array installation was even commissioned locally, by Seattle-based solar power company, A&R Solar. “IKEA strives to create a sustainable life for communities in which we operate, and our new Renton store is adding to this goal with Washington’s largest rooftop solar array," store manager Deidre Goodchild said.
5. Tour the Bullitt Center, the world's greenest office building, and high five Bullitt CEO Dennis Hayes, founder of Earth Day. Did you know that the greenest commercial building in the world is right here Seattle? The Bullitt Center is a net zero energy facility through the use of radiant heat and geothermal wells, efficient on site solar power, rainwater harvesting, water-less composting toilets and urinals and even more forward-thinking designs. “Irresistible staircases” with pretty views of the city replace elevators, safe bike storage (there is no "parking lot"), onsite showers and a repair bike shop provide incentives to tenants to cycle to work and take full advantage of the beautiful and efficient work site. What’s more, the president and CEO of the Bullitt Foundation, Dennis Hayes, is not only a leader in how green we can be, he also was the principle organizer of the first Earth Day in 1970.
6. Go thrifting at any of these amazing vintage, thrift or antique stores. Our fast fashion addicted society fuels clothing waste. Thrifting and reusing makes more sense for the environment, and luckily, Seattle is chock full of some incredible vintage, thrift and antique stores. The Fremont Vintage Mall offers amazing deals on leather boots, vinyl, furniture and high-quality vintage clothing. Lifelong Thrift store in Capitol hill has great deals on clothes, shoes and household goods and they are a nonprofit that helps those with HIV/AIDS. Nena’s in Madrona offers an incredible array of interesting antique gift items perfect for birthdays and holidays. And as for the Goodwills in town consistently worth rummaging through, check out the Capitol Hill and Ballard locations.
For more from Seattlemag.com on sustainable fashion, check out Five Ways to Make Your Style More Sustainable
7. Get your 5K on at the Earth Day Run and Tree Planting. Run or walk a 5K, 10K or 13.1K in Magnuson Park’s annual Earth Day Run. When you reach the finish line, you get a native sapling, as well as a tree planted in your name. Registration begins at 10 a.m. Prices vary. Magnuson Park, Sand Point Way NE and NE 65th Street; 206.684.4075; magnusonseries.org
8. Start eating organic and supporting green restaurants. Make a statement about the use of pesticides, fertilizers and other synthetic products toxic to the environment, people and animals by using your consumer power and buying organic food instead. Though organic produce is slightly more expensive, you are paying for greener agricultural practices and healthier food for your body. Consider checking out restaurants that strive to be environmentally-friendly, like Café Flora, that makes a point to use organic produce from local Washington farms, and Mashiko in West Seattle , that uses seafood from sustainable fisheries for their delectable sushi.
9. Tend your garden! Getting out in your own garden is a good way to nurture your relationship with mother earth, too. Not only can it remind you to take a moment, slow down and notice the things growing around you, but you can also turn those things into food. With our low-sun, high moisture environment, the best veggies to start with are carrots, a leafy green like kale and sweet peas. If there's no room for a garden where you live, try a communal P-Patch where you can garden along with your neighbors. Failing those ideas, consider joining a CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture service. It's a farm-fresh produce (or other farm products) delivery service that's kind of like having a farmer's market in your very own pocket). Check out the region's many options here.
10. Help our bee friends. Bees are an integral part of our ecosystem and they’re now offically endangered. There are a few things we can do: While you’re planting in your own garden or P-patch, plant bee-friendly flowers and herbs (and don't use synthetic fertilizers on them!), buy honey that supports local beekeepers, and donate to the Pollinator Partnership that works to save bees and their habitats. If you’re the creative type, find some scrap lumber and make your very own bee house to create a safe space for bees, or buy a nesting tube kit at McLendons for sweet-natured mason bees to make a home; they're power pollinators whose hairy bodies make it easy for them to cross-pollinate wherever they go.