Words by Jean-Marie Bousquet, Chums ambassador and avid angler currently exploring South Florida.
Honestly, I'm usually not one for holidays, particularly those that tend to get noisy on social media—but when it comes to Earth Day—my perspective shifts. It could be the subconscious influence of the 1990s Earth Day poster that hung on the wall in my parent's living room throughout my childhood—or perhaps being of the generation that now feels an immense responsibility for what’s next.
Yes, respecting the planet should be something we do naturally by habit every day, but until we live in a society where an 'Earth Day Holiday' becomes obsolete, this week is an opportunity to revel in a little extra joy outside and perhaps set up a few new habits for the coming year.
Here are a few ideas for how you can celebrate and make a plan to be a little kinder to the planet every day.
KICK PLASTIC TO THE BEST OF YOUR ABILITY
A few years ago, a friend of mine cut out plastic in a truly inspiring way. She purchased no plastic cleaning, storage, or hygiene products and completely rid her home from them. Have you ever tried that? It's hard AF. These are ultimate goals, but I personally needed something a bit less daunting. So I committed to using reusable bags, water bottles & coffee mugs. By keeping extra reusable grocery bags in my car and always having a couple of water bottles and mugs floating around between the house and my car, these became a seamless part of my everyday life.
GET SMART WITH YOUR GEAR
Spend the day cleaning and organizing that gear closet! Gift any unneeded gear to a friend, donate it, or see if the company has a buy-back program. If you need to purchase something new, look into upcycled product offerings. It’s pretty cool to see companies prioritizing eco-friendly products and buyback programs so you don’t have to buy new. A few of my favorite eco Chums picks are below, and they're on sale for Earth Day right now!
LET 'EM HEAR YOUR VOICE
Sometimes a specific environmental sparks a real fire inside of us. Find an organization that speaks to you, and ask how you can get involved. From donations to writing emails and volunteering—there are a number of ways to support, and not all of them require a big time commitment.
Since I started spending the winter oceanside in South Florida, it became difficult to ignore the many issues facing our world's oceans and coral reefs. I became particularly interested in the work done by the Surf Riders Foundation—which actively works on protecting the world's oceans, along with Captains for Clean Water, an organization focused on Everglades National Park Restoration, nutrient pollution, and policy change.
BUY PRODUCE FROM A LOCAL FARMER
Not only does locally grown food taste better, but it also supports the environment by eliminating lengthy transportation processes and unnecessary packaging to reach the grocery store. And until I live somewhere permanently where I can try growing my own food, I’ll be purchasing plants from a local farmers market that supports the environment and local community.
We hear this phrase a lot—I know, but I’m always surprised at how many times I can hear it and still realize I haven’t done it because I’ve been behind my computer screen all day. Spend 5 minutes in the morning to get some sunlight on your face, or listen for a new bird call. Take your lunch break outside, or get out there for a post-dinner stroll around the block.