April 22 is Earth Day! This annual celebration is an opportunity to raise awareness and advocate for change around the issues most impacting our planet — and celebrate the beauty of Mother Earth.
While the urgency of climate justice should inspire us all to spring to action on Earth Day — so should the exciting progress we’re already making.
So, this Earth Day, we invite you to look for the helpers, make your own meaningful changes for the planet, and tap into joy as a boundless resource for resistance and change.
We’ve gathered some ideas to celebrate and nurture the planet, but first, here are a few quick facts about Earth Day!
5 Facts About Earth Day
- Earth Day was started by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970 to promote environmental policies on a national scale.
- Following the first Earth Day, Congress authorized the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.
- Earth Day also led to the passage of the Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts.
- In 1990, Earth Day went global and mobilized 141 countries to participate in protecting the environment.
- The date April 22nd was chosen for Earth Day to maximize the number of university (and K-12) students that could participate in celebrating the holiday.
We already know it’s important to learn more about and advocate for the health of the planet (and the people on it!) every day of the year, but it’s helpful to have somewhere to start. We’ve created a guide on how to celebrate Earth Day this year.
By the way, some of the links in this article (like books!) are affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you!
Activities and Ideas: How To Celebrate Earth Day
Learn about the real environmental problems we’re facing.
Knowledge is power, and staying up-to-date with the challenges facing our planet helps us create better solutions, fight for equity and justice, and make real, lasting change.
It’s important that we confront the realities of the problems we’re up against. Here are a few facts to know and explore about our personal impact:
- Global average temperatures are on the rise, thanks to greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide. Since 1880, Earth’s temperature has risen by an average of 0.14 degrees Fahrenheit per decade, but the rate of warming since 1981 is more than twice as fast, clocking in at 0.32 degrees Fahrenheit per decade.
- The average annual carbon emissions per American is 20 tons, compared to a world average of 4 tons.
- Food waste is also a major problem — a third of the world’s food supply is wasted every year, while 30% of the global population lives in a state of food insecurity.
- The people in America most impacted by climate change are Black, Hispanic, and Latinx communities — who are statistically less likely to be responsible for climate harm.
- Systems of overconsumption and extraction lead to depleted environments and social inequity, as 80% of the world’s natural resources are used by just 20% of the population.
- Personal responsibility is important, but it’s also key to remember that, according to the BBC, the fossil fuel industry has made an estimated $2.8 billion in profits per day for the last 50 years, governments around the world currently spend $1.9 trillion per year on environmentally harmful subsidies, and a small number of companies are responsible for a significant percentage of global emissions.
While these are only a handful of examples of the challenges we’re up against, their impact is devastating. The results of climate change lead to some of the following predicaments:
- Extreme weather disasters, like floods, storms, droughts, and heatwaves are on the rise — and so is the displacement of people impacted by climate disasters.
- The global economy loses billions of dollars annually due to climate disasters, damage to infrastructure, lost productivity, and increased healthcare costs.
- Things like ocean acidification and deforestation impact plants and animals, leading to decreased biodiversity across the planet.
- Human health is threatened in a myriad of ways; as we experience increased respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, allergies, food- and water-borne illnesses, infectious diseases, injuries, hunger, and threats to mental health.
- Rising sea levels and melting ice can and will threaten coastal communities and low-lying islands — often where many Indigenous peoples live.
- Food insecurity and water scarcity are exacerbated.
All of this is bad news. But keep reading, because we have good news…
Read good news about the progress we’re making in the fight against climate change.
Okay, so that was a lot to start out this list of Earth Day “celebrations.” But, fear not! There is hope, we promise.
Plus, climate doom really doesn’t do much to help. So, once you’re feeling educated and informed about all the big climate challenges we have to face, give yourself a little boost of hope by learning more about some climate solutions worth celebrating.
We’re all about good news at Good Good Good. And climate good news is our favorite. Here are a few to get you feeling inspired:
- Some animals are already rebounding (butterflies, whales, tigers, bison, gorillas, and ugly animals!) thanks to thoughtful conservation efforts!
- All of our action to restore the ozone layer since 1989 has paid off — and now it’s poised to make a full recovery! Climate action works!
- Communities have already begun coming together to organize community composting efforts, build disaster-resilient neighborhoods, plant more urban trees to combat environmental racism, use building materials that absorb CO2, turn sewage (yuck!) into green energy (yay!), buy electric school buses, and paint streets white to reduce heat.
- People are even rethinking entire ways of organizing society and our economy to better serve people and planet. (Doughnut economics, charging companies for producing trash, and governments paying to repair your stuff… to name a few.)
- Indigenous communities have long cared for the planet and continue to do so. In just the last few years, they’ve driven two oil companies out of the Arctic, are creating innovative solar solutions, continue to share their time-honored farming techniques, and are restoring and caring for forests in Colombia, California, and the Amazon Rainforest.
- We’re protecting oceans and marine life by… sinking old buses into harbors, adding oysters to filter polluted waters,
- All kinds of people are stepping up to take climate action — from combat diving veterans and ‘youth councils’ to motorcycle fans and your retired grandma.
- And in weird good news… acrobats are using parkour to fight light pollution, coffee farmers are reducing food waste with delicious cascara, a brewery puts carbon emissions back into beers, a Google competitor plants trees with every search, a soccer club just went carbon-neutral, trees are tweeting, and scientists invented a sustainable kind of glitter made from fruit instead of microplastics.
Watch documentaries about the Earth.
Documentaries help us visualize and better understand big, overwhelming issues like climate change.
There is no shortage of Earth-centric documentaries and docuseries — and we’ve curated a whole list.
Subscribe to podcasts about the environment.
There’s nothing like an emotional support podcast that educates us and journeys with us to the gym, grocery store, or daily commute.
Here are a few environment-saving podcasts to tune into on Earth Day this year:
Read books about protecting the planet.
Saving the world sure would be a lot easier if we all had a guidebook. The good news is that so many environmental experts have lended their brilliance to books you can ethically buy or check out from your local library — so you can start learning even more about this beautiful planet we call home.
- “Climate Optimism: Celebrating Systemic Change Around the World” by Zahra Biabani (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “Saving Us: A Climate Scientists’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World” by Katharine Hayhoe (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “The Hidden Life of Trees” by Tim Flannery (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “A Bigger Picture: My Fight to Bring a New African Voice to the Climate Crisis” by Vanessa Nakate (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants” by Robin Wall Kimmerer (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “The Climate Book: The Facts and the Solutions” by Greta Thunberg (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “How to Save Our Planet: The Facts” by Mark Maslin (Bookshop) (Amazon)
Learn about the Native lands you live on.
Climate activism has been built on the foundation of so many Indigenous communities, and the least we can do is learn more and acknowledge the stolen land on which we all live.
Learn more about the specific land you occupy through this interactive map, which outlines Native communities across the globe.
Subscribe to some new sustainability newsletters.
There are plenty of reasons to subscribe to reputable climate-related newsletters: Because climate change is left out of relevant reporting, it’s utterly overwhelming to keep track of the latest environmental news, or it’s just much more accessible to find factual, hopeful non-paywalled news this way.
We’ve gathered some of our favorite sustainability newsletters to learn more and help combat climate change.
Learn about intersectional environmentalism.
Intersectional environmentalism is a movement that demands that our planet and its people are both cared for and seen as interconnected.
Developed and coined by Leah Thomas (the author of “The Intersectional Environmentalist: How to Dismantle Systems of Oppression to Protect People + Planet”), the study of intersectional environmentalism is integral to everyone’s work as both climate and social justice activists.
→ Learn about intersectional environmentalism
Read and share quotes about the planet.
We’ve thoughtfully curated several collections of quotes worth reading and sharing on this most special of days. Check out these articles:
Plant or support a local community garden.
Connect with people in your existing local gardens, plant your own small patch of vegetables, or assist in food distribution and urban landscaping projects.
There are plenty of ways to get involved! Whether you’re a soil genius, or a skilled marketer who can spread the word about fresh produce, you can play a part in building a regenerative agriculture system right in your own backyard.
Clean up litter in your community.
Cleaning up litter in your community is a small but mighty way to volunteer your time for the sake of the planet.
Restore nature in your area.
There are so many opportunities to get involved in nature conservation, no matter where you live. Plant trees and native plants, help restore wildlife habitats, and team up with local experts to keep your community in harmony with nature and wildlife.
You can visit The Nature Conservancy’s volunteer guide to find various volunteer opportunities near you.
Help with wildlife and environmental research in your area.
You don’t have to be a tenured professor to engage with environmental and wildlife research! Become a citizen scientist and help gather information for the pros. Here are a few fun ways to do that:
- Help out the Great Sunflower Project by planting lemon queen sunflowers in your yard. Once they bloom, all you have to do is count the number of pollinators that land on the sunflowers in five-minute segments.
- Count birds! For real, that’s all you have to do. Celebrate migration season, count the birds you see in your area, and submit your data through eBird to help scientists track wildlife.
- You can also remotely count penguins and iguanas! Seeing a theme here?
- Not super stoked on any of these options? Comb through all kinds of projects of various disciplines with Zooniverse and see where you can best contribute to real-life research!
Donate to environmental justice organizations in your community.
Indigenous and Black communities have been at the forefront of the environmental justice movement since the beginning. Yet, they lack access to the necessary funds and resources they need to protect our planet.
When donating to environmental organizations this Earth Day, practice intersectionality, and redistribute wealth to grassroots organizations that count on your support to survive. Here are a few we recommend:
Urge your elected officials to enact meaningful climate legislation.
Every day is a good day to call your elected officials and urge them to take action against climate change. Whether it’s a fee for plastic bags in your city, or a campaign to stop a major oil rig across the country, any climate-forward legislation matters.
Work with political groups to champion environmental justice.
Volunteering can look like canvassing, writing postcards, testifying to your local elected officials, or registering people to vote. No matter your type of activism, this work truly matters!
Make small lifestyle changes that benefit the planet.
We know nobody can ever be completely “zero waste,” but that doesn’t mean simple lifestyle or sustainability changes are unimportant! Even a few small changes can make a big difference. Here are a handful you can consider starting this Earth Day:
As you begin to find small ways to be more environmentally conscious in your everyday life, you’ll likely find more ways to create an even bigger positive impact over time. Let Earth Day be the start of a new personal trend.
Listen, before we get any further, we have to remind you that you do not need to spend any money to take better care of the planet! The best way to be sustainable isn’t to buy the hot new eco-friendly items on the market, but to use up what you already have.
That being said, we know that sometimes even our most beloved essentials reach the end of their life cycle, and you want to be intentional when you buy something new. We have a whole section of our website dedicated to ethical shopping!
A big tip when making an eco-conscious purchase? Know how to spot greenwashing (and avoid it), look for sustainable materials and sourcing, and lean toward brands with certifications keeping them accountable, like Climate Neutral, B Corp, or 1% for the Planet!
In the meantime, here are a couple of sustainable shopping guides to get you started:
Attend an Earth Day event.
Being in community with other climate activists and Earth-lovers is the best way to spend Earth Day. And the best part? There are so many Earth Day events around the globe!
Host a clothing swap in your community.
The fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters in the world. Aside from ditching fast fashion brands and shopping secondhand, you can also coordinate a clothing swap with your friends and fellow tree-huggers.
Share your most beloved pieces, try new trends without the guilt of buying something new, and keep your clothes out of landfills all at once!
Go car-free for the day (and then see if you can keep it up).
While you’re bopping around town at events and clothing swaps, see if you can carpool, take public transit, or ride your bike!
There are plenty of ways to live without a car, and even if you just give it a go for one day, you might see that it’s a lifestyle shift you want to seriously consider.
Visit a local farmer’s market.
Boost your local agriculture economy! By late April, most major cities will certainly have farmer’s markets open and thriving, so Earth Day gives you the perfect excuse to source some in-season produce from your local growers.
If you’re not able to find a big market, definitely use the Farmstand app to find roadside farm stands to shop, too.
Plant native pollinators.
The real VIPs of Earth Day? Very important pollinators, baby. If you don’t already have a native pollinator-friendly yard or landscape, this is absolutely the time to start planting grasses and plants to help those busy bees (and hummingbirds) thrive.
You can find a list of native pollinator plants by state or region, and grab some seeds at your local nursery or home and landscape store.
Visit a national park.
A visit to a national park is an opportunity to enjoy nature, protect the planet, and celebrate time with friends, family, and fellow park-goers. Of course, make sure you take good care of your public lands when you visit!
Spend time in nature.
The easiest way to celebrate this special day is by spending time in the great outdoors. Take a picnic to a local park, swing in a hammock (responsibly), go on a hike, or even pogo-stick to your heart’s content.
Whichever way you choose to breathe in the fresh air, nature is calling.
Highlight Earth Day in your company newsletter or blog.
Instead of using your company emails or website to highlight a sale or promotion, consider using it as an opportunity to discuss the importance of climate action.
Include action items, celebration opportunities, and more, for your team, customers, and community to learn more about protecting the planet.
Please feel free to share, quote, and link to this article as a resource in your newsletter or on your blog!
Enforce eco-friendly policies and practices in the workplace.
Nominate yourself as your workplace’s resident Earth Lover, and help implement eco-friendly practices in the office. Compostable kitchenware in the break room? Getting rid of meat at company events? Investments in solar power? Helping your employees commute sustainably? Energy efficient tech swaps? Printer restrictions to conserve paper and energy? The world is your oyster!
Get certified by 1% for the Planet, Climate Neutral, or B Corp.
Certification organizations like 1% for the Planet, Climate Neutral, and B Corp are amazing at helping to keep companies accountable when it comes to sustainable and ethical business. It’ll help your customers trust you, and you’ll find lots of support from other businesses working to operate more sustainably and thoughtfully!
For Kids / At School
Read kid-friendly books about climate change and the environment.
Take story time outside and read some informational books about the planet! The amount of kid-focused climate content out there is astonishing, and we have the power to help shape the next generation through simple educational tools and priorities.
Here are a few kids books about the planet to add to your bookshelf:
- “Spring After Spring: How Rachel Carson Inspired The Environmental Movement” by Stephanie Roth Sisson (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “We Are Water Protectors” by Carole Lindstrom (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “Old Enough to Save the Planet” by Loll Kirby (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “What a Waste: Trash, Recycling, and Protecting Our Planet” by Jess French (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “The First Rule of Climate Club” by Carrie Firestone (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference” by Greta Thunberg (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “The Fog” by Kyo Maclear (Bookshop) (Amazon)
Go on a nature walk or litter cleanup field trip.
Most kiddos will jump at the chance to take class outside — so let them! Go on a nature walk, plan a litter cleanup at recess, or even plan a fun scavenger hunt to learn more about the local environment.
Do an eco-conscious craft.
Get even more creative at the craft table and use recycled, found, or natural materials with your crew! Here are just a few ideas of how you can turn craft time into an eco-conscious learning experience:
- Make your own paper
- Plant a terrarium.
- Use leaves and other natural materials to make a self-portrait.
- Make an eggshell mosaic.
- Create collages with fabric or paper scraps.
- Learn how to sew or repair clothes and shoes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do we celebrate Earth Day?
Millions of people around the world celebrate and recognize Earth Day as a means to both advocate for and protect the planet and its resources. Earth Day puts a collective global focus on celebrating and preserving the earth’s beauty for decades and centuries to come.
What is the theme for Earth Day 2023?
The theme for Earth Day 2023 is “Invest In Our Planet.” This year’s theme focuses on engaging governments, institutions, businesses, and the more than 1 billion citizens who participate annually in Earth Day to do their part — “everyone accounted for, everyone accountable.”
What was the theme for Earth Day 2022?
The theme for Earth Day 2022 was also “Invest In Our Planet.” The theme called on people around the world to recognize our collective responsibility to protect and preserve the planet and “to help accelerate the transition to an equitable, prosperous green economy for all.”
Which president started Earth Day?
Earth Day was started by Senator Gaylord Nelson in the spring of 1970 to bring environmental issues to the national agenda. President Richard Nixon was the first to celebrate Earth Day the following year and signed a proclamation for Earth Week, as well.
When is Earth Day?
Earth Day is held every year on the same day, April 22. This year, Earth Day is on Saturday, April 22, 2023.
When is Earth Week?
Earth Week is celebrated the week leading up to Earth Day. This year, Earth Week is held from Sunday, April 16 to Saturday, April 22, 2023.
What are some other environmental holidays?
Honoring and celebrating the earth goes beyond Earth Day, Earth Week, and Earth Month. We’ve curated a list of all environmental and sustainability holidays, weeks, and months to celebrate — all year long.