On April 22, celebrate our planet with these nine Earth Day activities.

By Elizabeth Rhodes
Updated June 01, 2020
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This April 22 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, which was first celebrated in 1970 to raise awareness about environmental issues. Since its founding, people around the globe have honored the Earth and supported environmental initiatives on this day. Even though we may be stuck inside and unable to participate in group activities this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we can find other ways to celebrate with these Earth Day activities that you can do at home.

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1. Plant a garden or add some green to your space.

If you have access to a backyard (or even a window box), now is the perfect time to plant a garden. A small herb garden is easy to grow and maintain, and it provides fresh flavors for your future dishes. Plant flowers, vegetables, a tree — the possibilities are endless. Local gardening centers are open in states throughout the country, with some even offering no-contact pickup. You can even have plants delivered straight to your doorstep if there isn’t a garden center near you.

2. Take a walk (while social distancing) and discover native plants.

If you’re able to do so, take a walk around your neighborhood (while observing social distancing rules) and learn about the plants and animals that live in your area. You can use the Native Plant Finder website to search for plants in your zip code, or do a little research about the animals native to your region. Starting Tuesday, you can learn how to experience the magic of nature from home with Disney’s Wilderness Explorers at Home on the My Disney Experience app.

3. Learn about recyclables.

Sure, you recycle plastic bottles and aluminum cans, but there are probably a lot more things that you could be recycling. Take this time to refresh your knowledge of local recycling rules, and find out where you can recycle materials like textiles and electronic waste.

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4. Shop sustainable brands online.

We all love shopping online, so make your next purchase easier on the environment by buying from a sustainable brand. Clothes made from recycled materials, package-free toiletries and household essentials, and more are available online.

5. Watch a documentary about the Earth.

Cure your cabin fever with a documentary that reminds you of the Earth's expansive beauty. On Netflix, check out Our Planet, a stunning docuseries hosted by David Attenborough that features beautiful footage and explores how climate change has impacted our world. Disney+ recently released Disneynature’s “Elephant” and “Dolphin Reef,” which come with a downloadable activity packet, perfect for kids learning from home.

6. Rethink food scraps.

Approximately 30 to 40 percent of the U.S. food supply becomes waste, according to the USDA. Take after chefs like Belmond Mount Nelson’s Rudi Liebenberg, who have reduced waste in their restaurants by finding resourceful ways to repurpose food items that would otherwise be thrown out. Get inspiration from the cocktail program at Showfish Bar at Gurney’s Star Island Resort & Marina in the Hamptons, which uses food scraps to flavor their drinks. Use leftover fruit and vegetables to make DIY infused spirits or syrups (think cucumber gin or strawberry tequila) for a refreshing at-home cocktail. Use sustainable liquors from Gray Whale Gin and Humboldt Distillery to benefit eco-conscious charities while you sip.

7. Look for stars.

Earth Day just happens to correspond with the peak of the Lyrid meteor shower, so there’s never been a better time to learn how to stargaze. If clear skies permit, get outside and look up — you might be rewarded with a shooting star or two.

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8. Donate to charity.

While you might not be able to participate in group Earth Day activities like beach cleanups or festivals, you can still make a difference from home. Whether you want to protect endangered species or promote clean energy, there’s a charity for you. For this year’s Global Vision Awards, Travel + Leisure featured a number of initiatives, organizations, and governments making strides in conservation and sustainability.

9. Take a virtual field trip.

If you can’t get outside, bring the outdoors in with a virtual field trip: You can take a tour of a national park, explore the Great Barrier Reef, or even stroll through a botanic garden. Gurney’s Resorts also features digital lessons with the Cornell Cooperative Extension Marine Program as a part of their #GoneHomeWithGurneys initiative.