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10 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day from Home | How to Connect to Nature during COVID-19

We asked our marketing extraordinaire/writer/make whatever we need happen employee, Jayna, to write this post dedicated to celebrating Earth Day from home. We are all trying to function during an unprecedented time, where previous ways of operating just aren’t possible. This new normal becomes even more apparent when we celebrate holidays and other important moments of the year, like Earth Day. Jayna has created a list of great ideas to connect with nature and celebrate our earth during COVID-19.

As I write this, I’m privileged enough to sit on my deck in the sunshine. I can enjoy the ivy climbing the walls of our Seattle home and the beautiful blue sky above me. I know not everyone has the ability to access nature in this way during this _____ time (insert whatever word works best for you: crazy, unprecedented, unimaginable, f***ing wild, etc.). I am so incredibly grateful that I do, and have been thinking a lot about gratitude with all of these extra hours. It’s one of the only things keeping my head above water these days. 

Something I am incredibly grateful for is this job. I am grateful I’ve come to know the amazing women behind Tokki, and all the work that they do to keep us up and running. At Tokki, we want to spread joy through gifting in a way that is better for the planet.  This commitment to the environment is what initially excited me about the company, and has continued to allow my values and work to align in the most beautiful way.

Naturally, my personal adoration of the outdoors and Tokki’s mission of sustainability have birthed this blog post to celebrate the place we all call home. Whether you’re stuck inside, bravely fighting on the front lines, or somewhere in between, we’ve created a list of ways to appreciate Earth Day from wherever you are this year.

Join The Digital Earth Day Celebration 

With social-distancing in full effect, many events have been brought online to connect people from around the world, Earth Day included! 

On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans engaged in coast-to-coast rallies to advocate for a cleaner environment. This sparked a national trend and created an environmental movement still fighting today. 

www.earthday.org is an organization built from this movement and has provided incredible resources to the public on how to advocate for the earth this year. Using their online platform, they’ve decided to take Earth Day digital for the first time in history. You can tune in on April 22 to connect with global leaders in environmental advocacy from around the world or find a local event using their map

Become a Citizen Scientist

Another incredible effort from www.earthday.org is the Earth Challenge 2020, which gives everyone the chance to become a “citizen scientist” and to gather important scientific data wherever you are in the world. You’re able to share your research and contribute to the effort to making a cleaner, healthier planet. Download the app here to check it out!

Swap for Eco-Friendly Brands 

This one might feel like a no-brainer, but one of the best things we can do is choose brands that help us reduce our carbon footprint rather than add to it. Plus-we have extra time to shop online, so we might as well do it from brands we love!

Girlfriend Collective

One brand I’ve been loving is Girlfriend Collective, a Seattle based company making athletic clothing out of recycled water bottles. Not only are their clothes and practices sustainable, but they’re adorable, comfy, and attainably priced! A win-win-win in my book.

Package Free Shop

If you’re on the market for ways to stay sanitary during COVID-19, a great option is to opt for a reusable zero-waste cleaning kit. Package Free Shop offers this one and a ton of other amazing low-waste products to add to your collection. They have anything from panty liners to beauty products, so stock up on anything your package-free heart desires!

Tokki

Tokki wraps are an awesome addition to anyone’s life that’s looking to reduce waste and help the planet. Did you know that we put about 5000 football-fields worth of wrapping paper into landfills each year? Tokki is here to combat this colossal number, and make the experience fun and memorable along the way. So try it, and help out mama nature while you do! 

Explore New Ways to Cook with Veggies

Photo courtesy of www.pinchofyum.com

This is something I have been personally loving as a meat-eater myself. Cooking with vegetables has always intimidated me, and seemed like an added, unnecessary step in my cooking journey. If I didn’t like eating them all that much-why take the time to try to make them taste good? 

Well, there are lots of reasons! First and foremost, shifting to a more plant-based diet helps out the planet more than you’d think. Did you know that the livestock sector (raising cows, pigs, and chickens) generates as much greenhouse gas as all cars, trucks, and automobiles combined?

I don’t know about you, but this fact shocked me and got me to take another look at how I can make veggies a bigger part of my diet. I also wanted to explore fun new ways to cook that I didn’t have time to try out before, so this was a recipe for a good time! I’ve found this amazing veggie pad thai recipe that even I (a veggie hater) came to love. This recipe is easy, accessible, and YUM!

Start Composting 

Photo courtesy of www.gettyimages.com

Is composting that thing you said you’d do tomorrow? And tomorrow never seems to come? Me too. I’ve also avoided composting due to a lack of space living in an urban area. I figured it wasn’t my responsibility to start composting, that was everyone in rural America’s job. 

This couldn’t be further from the truth! Composting is an amazing way to reduce our waste and cultivate a healthier ecosystem (even in the city). If you’re totally new to composting, a great way to dip your toe is to participate in municipal composting. Many cities around the country have adopted the practice, and you just have to check if yours is on the composting train. If not, a great new service to check out is Compost Now, an independent compost pickup service for those of us who don’t have the time.

And if you’re ready to do some of your own composting, check out this simple tutorial on composting from Pure Living for Life on YouTube. And if you don’t have the space (like me), check out how to compost in a small space here

Involve Your Kids 

Even though I don’t have kids myself, a huge part of my life has been coming up with ways to involve them in environmental education as a caregiver. I’m always looking for new ways to engage kiddos in fun activities that teach them something along the way. With schools closed, this is a great opportunity to learn some new things about the environment in a unique and creative way. I’ve included some of my go-to activities below:

Recyclable Item Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts are without a doubt my favorite activity to put together for kids. They are always a hit and are a great way for kids to identify and group objects. This Earth Day, make a list of items that are recyclable and put them around the house (or outside if you have access to a safe outdoor space) and see what your kiddos can find!

Trash Rainbow

This adorable trash rainbow activity from www.notimeforflashcards.com is a great way to get creative and use up art supplies scraps you could never find a home for. Round up anything in an array of colors, some glue, and let the kids do the rest!

Play Dough Planet

This is a great activity for the mini scientist in your life, or if your kids just love play dough (who am I kidding, I love play dough). This activity teaches kids about the layers within the Earth's core and helps you connect to science in a fun and easy way!

Read A Book  

Photo courtesy of www.steemit.com

Reading is a big part of my life, but I tend to gravitate towards fiction and works that are escapist in nature. I read to “get away from it all” as so many of us do. With this in mind, I wanted to take some of this extra time and read a book that truly educates me on environmental issues and brings to light some harsh truths I haven’t wanted to look at in the past. 

With earth day coming up, my attention was brought to the beginning of the environmental movement in the United States today. It can be argued that this movement was sparked by Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, published in 1962. This book focuses on the rampant use of chemical pesticides by humans and the impact we’ve had on our planet. I figured, what’s a better time to read a book that was the turning point for an entire movement? 

If Silent Spring isn’t your thing, check out any of these must-read books on the environment and climate change.

Pro Quarantine Tip: Don’t have the motivation to get through a book by yourself? Start a book club. This is a great opportunity to spark connections digitally and share your opinions on what you’ve found. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed late-night zoom calls talking about books with friends, and you get to do it from the comfort of your own bed.

Make Earth-Inspired Art 

Although we might not all be Picasso, taking some time to explore our creative side is one of the best ways we can connect with nature without stepping foot outdoors. 

Personally, I don’t do much painting or drawing but I do love to color. I have been finishing coloring books like it’s my job, and one of my favorites is this Enchanted Forest collection. It’s full of beautiful earth-inspired scenes and you don’t have the pressure of creating something new. 

Another creative outlet for me is writing, and I’ve recently started sitting down and describing some of my favorite images of the earth. It’s been a great writing exercise to see how I’m able to paint pictures in my head using words and gives me a moment to appreciate all of the amazing natural wonders I’ve been lucky enough to see. Whatever creative outlet you choose, this is a great way to celebrate Earth Day and you have a beautiful piece of art afterward.

Bring Outside Indoors 

I don’t know about you, but my quarantine space has started to feel more and more like a prison. You’re stuck within the same four walls of your bedroom, living room, kitchen, wherever-and it’s difficult to feel like you’re connected to the earth without actually being outside. A simple (albeit obvious) solution is to bring some of that nature in with us. 

One of the easiest ways to do this is turning on some nature sounds in the background of whatever you’re doing. I do some of my best work when I’m listening to www.rainymood.com because I’m easily distracted by lyrics when reading or writing, and this site is pure rain. Search your preferred music platform for sounds of the forest, a serene river, or birds in the Amazon-the world is at your fingertips with the beauty of electronics! 

Another simple solution is purchasing an air-purifying plant. My space has been feeling extra stuffy lately and a Snake Plant very well might be my next quarantine purchase. These plants help to maximize efficiency in cleaning the air and look cute while doing it! 

Take a Walk 

Although non-essential trips outside the home are limited, a walk can be a great way to connect to the earth and are proven to improve your mental health. Sticking to areas that are less densely populated is crucial, and can be a great way to take a “hike” without over-populating trails. Choose a path in your area that is particularly hilly (and avoided because of it) and get your exercise in without seeing too many other humans. 

Across the country, federal, state and local regulations are requiring face masks in public as a tool in the COVID-19 response kit.  At Tokki, we have the 100% cotton fabric in beautiful patterns, ready to be sewn into reusable gift wrap. Gravitas, a New York fashion brand, has expert design and sewing resources. We’ve partnered to create some adorable masks for our friends, and want to give you the chance to get one too! For every mask purchased, we will donate a mask to a front-line worker in need. 

Plant Some Green 

What better way to connect with nature than to plant your own garden? Whether it be a potted herb garden for your kitchen or a full-on plot of veggies in your backyard, growing your own food and flowers is a grounding activity that gives back to mama nature at the same time.

Goodwill has provided an awesome DIY herb garden tutorial to bring some life into your space. We love the idea of shopping second hand, but if thrift stores aren’t open or accessible in your area these items might even be found in your own home! You just need a few jars, some potting soil, and your herbs to cultivate your mini-garden.

If you’re ready for more, consider planting your own veggie garden! Providing our own food and plants for other critters to pollinate is a great way to positively impact the environment, and saves us some money in the long run too. Check out this article to get down the basics of vegetable gardening.

No space or time to plant your own green? Try committing to sourcing food from a local CSA. CSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture” and is a way for community members to buy “shares” (like a membership) to a local farmer and get fresh seasonal produce throughout the farming season. Check out this link to find a CSA in your area, or look up a local program. 

All of this might sound meaningless in a time of complete chaos, but if anything, finding meaning and connection in the smallest places of our lives is something we can do to mitigate that chaos. Appreciating the planet and doing what we can to help it live a long and healthy life is more important now than ever, and we hope these tips can help you celebrate the earth the right way this Earth Day.

Further Reading

Pivoting With Purpose | Tokki’s Small Business Response To COVID-19

Gifts For Mother’s Day You Can Give From Afar

Eco-Friendly Easter Basket Gift Ideas For Kids, Teens, And Adults

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