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Celebrate Earth Day: 11 Ways Seniors Can Give the Planet a Hand

Each year, April 22 is a day to raise awareness about the need to protect our planet. To recognize the day, people throughout the country will be making multiple efforts to clean up and spruce up. There’s even a viral #TrashTag Challenge this year that is sure to get even more people involved! Seniors specifically can celebrate Earth Day in many enjoyable ways. The idea is to keep the momentum going all year, and any efforts can help.

1. Grow a garden outdoors or in your home.

Whether you reside in one of our senior living communities or own a house, gardening is an excellent way to celebrate Earth Day.

Several of our independent living and assisted living residents maintain outdoor gardens within our communities. Doing so enables them to socialize while gaining the many benefits of gardening. As an added benefit, our chefs often use fresh vegetables grown right in our gardens as elements of gourmet-style meals for residents. 

You can also plant your own vegetable or flower garden for display inside your home or on your patio or porch.

2. Celebrate Earth Day by planting a tree or shrub.

Take gardening a step further by planting a tree or shrub outside of your home, or you can obtain permission from the applicable city in order to plant one in your favorite public space. As you watch it grow, you can develop a sense of pride in it. The tree itself provides multiple benefits for the environment, such as serving as a natural air conditioner, trapping dust and pollen in the air, and enhancing the natural ecosystem by providing a home for birds and other animals.

3. Avoid bottled water.

Purchase refillable water bottles, and keep them with you throughout the day. Refilling the bottle rather than using disposable water bottles is a simple step that can reduce plastic waste.

4. Opt for the good silverware instead of plastic silverware.

If you regularly use plastic silverware, make an effort to use metal silverware instead. Reusing silverware allows you to cut down on the unnecessary waste of plastic utensils. Along these lines, avoid using plastic straws as well. Purchase reusable straws or paper straws, or drink straight from the cup.

5. Organize a community cleanup.

Gather a group of friends together to clean up your favorite local park or even the local neighborhood. If your goal is to clean up a large piece of land or a waterway, plan it ahead of time to ensure you get the proper approvals and safety procedures in place. 

You can also turn this idea into an easy and spontaneous way to help keep the Earth clean all year-round: As you take a leisurely walk around the neighborhood for exercise or enjoyment, slip on a pair of gloves in order to pick up and discard trash you see on the route.

6. Initiate a recycling program.

Earth Day is the perfect time to be inspired to start a recycling program in your own home or throughout the senior living community. It’s truly astonishing how many pieces of household trash can actually be recycled, such as plastic, Styrofoam, aluminum cans, cardboard, and paper. Collecting these items for recycling rather than throwing them into the trash can help protect the planet in multiple ways.

7. Use homemade cleaning products.

Rather than purchasing chemicals that can be harsh on the environment and your skin, opt for homemade cleaning products. Place equal parts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle, for example, and you can clean kitchen countertops and shower doors. To scrub stains, tile, and grout lines, a mixture of 3/4 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup organic dish soap, and a couple tablespoons of water should do the trick. (Just be sure to test a small area first.)

8. Adjust the thermostat.

Each of our Waltonwood homes features a programmable thermostat. Adjusting the temperature setting by only 2 degrees can make a big difference in heating costs.

9. Wash your clothes in cold water.

There’s an old myth that hot water cleans clothes better, but that’s not necessarily the case with today’s powerful washers. Choose the cold setting to reduce the energy consumption and costs associated with heating that water.

10. Combine Earth and Art

In addition to protecting the planet, Earth Day exists to raise awareness regarding how to do so. Combining art and Earth Day has been a popular theme for many years, and it is an especially beneficial way for seniors to celebrate Earth Day. Seniors who are especially talented in art can create murals, paintings, sculptures, and more that can be displayed in their homes, in the local public library, or even as part of a public Earth Day event. 

11. Attend an Earth Day Event

Themed events are held in many cities throughout Michigan, Virginia, and North Carolina, and they can further provide seniors with an opportunity to socialize, stay active, share their art, or learn more about how to help protect the planet in ways they may never have thought of before.

The following are only a few of the many events that will take place nationwide.

  • The MI Earth Day Fest will be held April 26-28 at the Rochester Municipal Park in Rochester, Michigan. It will feature live music and entertainment; a chance to shop wellness products; displays of vehicles and renewable energy systems; free samples and health screenings; and presentations by environmental experts and government leaders.
  • Earth Jam 2019 will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. April 27 at Robbins Park in Cornelius, North Carolina. It will feature live music, farm-to-table meals, nature walks, wildlife habitat improvement promotions, food trucks, eco-friendly vendors, and arts and crafts.
  • Celebrate Earth & Arbor Day at SpringFest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 27 at the Sully Historic Site in Chantilly, Virginia. It will feature over 75 vendors and food trucks; music and entertainment; environmental-themed crafts; gardening displays; a petting zoo; and an opportunity to learn more about the Clean Fairfax Council’s work to keep the region “Clean, Green, and Sustainable."

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