April is Earth Month and April 22nd is Earth Day 2018: End Plastic Pollution. Have you made plans to take notice of your social responsibility this month orparticipate in Earth Day activities? This year, more than one billion people will be celebrating the 48th anniversary of a global event said to have kicked off the modern environmental movement, with 2018’s theme bringing awareness to the current and future dangers of plastic pollution. Finding time to give back to the environment through Earth Day not only impacts the environment, but also helps individuals reconnect with nature and business teams better connect with each other.
To make last-minute planning easier, we’ve compiled a list of a few ways to celebrate Earth Day 2018 with friends, family, and coworkers. If you’re a business owner, this month is the perfect time to organize an Earth Day teambuilding effort, introduce new sustainability initiatives, or encourage your employees to get active and give back. Try out one of the activities below and see how Sustrana is celebrating our favorite green holiday.
Community Cleanup and Gardening
The first thing most people think of when planning Earth Day efforts is participating in a community cleanup event, planting trees and wildflowers, or starting a community garden—and they should! These activities have a big impact on the health of local environments and residents. But some companies, especially small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), may find it difficult to dedicate large blocks of time for their team to escape work and volunteer as a group in April. For this reason, community cleanups and gardening events work best planned well in advance, but even so, there are a few last-minute ways to feed the earth through hard work during Earth Month.
Here’s how to participate in community cleanups and gardening activities:
- Plan in advance
- Register your employees for a community cleanup event at a park, museum, river bank, or road
- Look for local organizations, neighborhoods and nonprofits creating community gardens and sign up to offer more manpower
- Join in last-minute
- See if your town is still accepting volunteers for their community cleanup day, which many towns hold
- Bring basic gardening equipment and seeds for the team to plant flowers and shrubs outside your office
- Gather trash bags and pick a time to walk around your office building and surrounding area to pick up trash and recycling
A Day Without Waste
Organizing a Day Without Waste at your company during the month of April is an easy way to get employees involved in environmental sustainability and social responsibility efforts, especially if your team is too busy to step out of the office for a big teambuilding activity. Waste reduction isn’t just about recycling at your home or office; it’s about making a concentrated effort to reduce waste in your daily life beyond recycling and reusing materials. The goal of this activity is to go one whole day without producing plastic waste or other types of trash headed for the landfill. This means employees will need to get creative with reusing and composting materials, pay attention to their in-person and online purchases, and be more mindful of their daily personal and work habits.
Here’s how to organize a Day Without Waste for employees:
- Send a company-wide email explaining the rules, purpose, and goals of a Day Without Waste
- Send a reminder email on the day of the activity with some tips and examples on how to reduce waste, like:
- Repurposing the morning coffee grounds
- Going paperless at the office
- Packing a waste-free lunch using reusable bags or containers
- Avoiding paper napkins, paper towels, and disposable coffee cups
- Reducing online shipping materials by purchasing from local stores
- Have each employee complete a simple pledge form or sign up on a pledge list to build excitement and encourage participation
- Ask the team to share their progress and thoughts on social media with the hashtag #ADayWithoutWaste
- Discuss the results with the team and use it as a starting point to introduce new long-term sustainability efforts into your organization
Visit our dedicated Day Without Waste overview page for more information and resources to help you create a successful Earth Day celebration at your company.
For individuals looking to celebrate Earth Day away from the crowds, forest bathing is a great solo option that brings with it many health benefits, such as reduced stress levels and improved memory. A healthy trend among nature lovers, forest bathing is a fitness, mental health and outdoor activity rolled into one that began in Japan, where the country’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries coined the practice shinrin-yoku in the early eighties.1 Forest “bathers” take long walks through a forest or similarly immersive environment to practice deep breathing and mindfulness as they appreciate the sounds, smells, and sights of nature.
Although it’s not the same as planting a tree or participating in a cleanup event, forest bathing is still a great way to mark Earth Day because it can lead to a greater appreciation of nature and a greater awareness of the impact we have on our surroundings every day.
Here’s how to practice forest bathing on your own or with friends:
- Wear comfortable clothing and shoes for light hiking activity
- Leave behind your camera, put your phone on vibrate, and set aside other distractions
- Walk through a forest, wooded park, or similar nature environment
- Stay silent, practice deep breathing techniques and let yourself wander with no path in mind
- Be actively aware of your environment through sight, smell, sound, and touch (be gentle!)
- Stop to appreciate anything that interests you and reflect on your experience
How Sustrana is Celebrating Earth Day 2018
As a sustainability management company, the Sustrana team is already very conscious about the effects we have on the environment, and every year we’re excited to share our passion with the rest of the world during Earth Month and on Earth Day. This year, we’re spreading the word about environmental action at the individual level and sustainability management solutions at the business level, sending out seeds along with a reminder to join us in celebrating Earth Day. This blog is another way we’re celebrating Earth Day 2018, providing education and tips for community members and business leaders looking to make a difference. So, will you join us? Plan to practice a new Earth Day activity at home on Sunday, April 22nd or at work during the month and see how it affects your view of the world around you.
Are you interested in leveraging sustainability management software to get more out of your business’s sustainability program? Contact Sustrana today to get started!