How to celebrate Earth Day while quarantined at home

It’s fifty years since the world started to celebrate Earth Day on April 22, 1970 to encourage everyone to protect the planet for future generations. This year, we can’t go out as a group to conduct tree-planting activities, nature hikes, or other outings, but we can celebrate this important day right within the comfort of home. Here are simple tips on how we can do it with family and our housemates. 

1. Think about how to save on water, power, and gas. Evaluate your household’s use of these important resources and brainstorm with each other on how you can cut consumption.

2. Find something that you can repurpose. Go through the items in your house and choose one (or a few) that you can repurpose or upcycle. For example, use a broken pot as a planter or turn old jeans into denim shorts.

3. Plan a plant-based menu. Create a week’s menu with the children and talk about how often you can go plant-based as a family. If you’re not ready to transition to a vegetarian or vegan diet, you can still incorporate regular plant-based days into your meal plans.

4. Think about how you can minimize the use of plastics, especially single-use plastics. Start making it a habit to refuse plastic containers from stores and to bring washable containers/utensils with you all the time. Opt for products with the least amount of packaging and recycle plastics as much as possible. 

5. Make a plant-based meal with and for the family. This is something exciting that the whole family can do — make your favorite dish using plant-based ingredients, or choose to make a new dish based on a recipe online. 

6. Check your food shelves and donate food to the nearest community pantry. If you have food items that you can donate, bring them to the nearest community pantry. Examples would be canned goods, snack food items, and basic supplies like rice, salt, sugar, etc.

7. Evaluate your diet and make a healthy change. You can do this as an individual or as a family. It is healthier to cut red meat from your diet, for example. It’s not just good for the body, it will also cut your dietary carbon footprint in half! Another good idea would be to source your meat, dairy and eggs sustainably and ethically, if you really must eat these.

8. Learn how to make your own cleaning products. There are plenty of resources available online that teaches you how to make homemade cleaning products using ingredients that won’t harm the planet.

9. Visit and to participate in the Earth Day activities. There are live streamed programs and social media events, videos, games, apps, and activities for the whole family. Valuable resources are being made available for the public, like NASA’s Earth Day 50th Anniversary Toolkit, NASA at Home, NASA STEM at Home, and many more.

10. Consider going offline for a day. That’s less power used and more time to spend on offline activities, not to mention an opportunity to take a break and have some quiet time at home. If you can’t go offline on April 22, you can still schedule it for another day.

Here are additional activities you can do with children

1. Visit a virtual zoo, aquarium or garden. Since we can’t bring the kids outside yet, let’s make use of the numerous virtual destinations like parks, farms, and even safaris. Check online for the links.

2. Watch an environmental documentary or a film about animals or nature. YouTube and Netflix both have great documentaries that you can watch with the children. Make it your after-dinner event. Prepare some hot drinks and snacks to enjoy with the film.

3. Go on a nature walk. Children enjoy collecting nature items like twigs, leaves, special rocks, flowers, etc. to bring home. They can use these as inspiration for an art project, or you can help them set up a nature table at home.

4. Write an Earth Day poem or story. It can be based on what the kids watched or read, or their experience during the nature walk or virtual tour. Give them freedom to express their feelings artistically, which means the output can be anything — a painting, song, poem, story, etc.

5. Tend to your home garden or start one. If you don’t have a home garden yet, Earth Day would be the perfect time to start one. And if you already have one, spend more time tending to the plants or plant new ones today. Teach the children how to nurture and value plant life.

Whatever it is that you decide to do on Earth Day, do share your photos and videos of your 50th Earth Day anniversary celebration. Use the hashtag #EarthDayAtHome in your posts — Happy Earth Day to everyone!