How Earth Day is celebrated globally

By Eric Wright

Vertebrate populations have decreased in size by 60% since 1970, 18 million acres of forests are cleared each year, and the Arctic ice melting at an alarming rate. The protection of our planet is now more important than ever, and appreciation of the natural world seems to be something that we as humans are finding hard to grasp, as we continually mistreat the most precious thing we have. It's time that we start to defend the oasis we live in, which provides our food, water, and air, and we need to learn to share our world with the all the other living creatures that inhabit it.

Earth Day was founded on April 22, 1970, as a way to increase consciousness about environmental concerns by founder Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin. In 1969, after a brutal oil spill wreaked havoc in Santa Barbara, California, Senator Nelson pushed for a "national teach-in on the environment," which eventually led to events all across the U.S. and 20 million Americans taking to the streets to display support for a sustainable environment.

Since then, the global situation has continued to deteriorate, as yet more wildlife habitats are lost forever, and pollution reaches terrifying levels. It's time for us to abandon our destructive ways and take responsibility to create a planet that can be a haven for both us and the thousands of wonderful living species that we share it with. It may seem a great challenge for us today as climate change lays waste to our small blue and green planet, but Earth Day is the perfect way for us to stand together in unison for the most important thing we have—Earth, our home.

Explore with us, as we find out how Earth Day is celebrated around the globe.

1. New York, U.S.

Earth Day's main aim is to educate people about our global environmental problems, and the rally in New York offers the chance to connect with companies using green initiatives, as well as learn more about environmental campaigns and green travel. The event is one of the biggest outdoor Earth Day celebrations and takes place in Union Square—comprised of festive events, live music, and ecological food trucks, all while raising awareness of the fragile state of our environment.

The 5-kilometer, eco-friendly walking tour is a great way to discover ecology schools and state-of-the-art waste and recycling centers, while the New York Botanical Garden showcases live music performances, parades, and tours that highlight the urgency to protect the world's plant species.

2. London, U.K.

Between Tuesday, April 16, and Monday, April 29, the Neoclassical Somerset House opens its doors with a two-week program that allows the public to enjoy interactive events and large-scale installations created by some of the best artists around the world. During the program, visitors will be able to discover ways to combat climate change, promote sustainable living, and attend family workshops.

Some of this year's highlights include exhibits such as a Dystopian vision of a future without humans; a flag and audio commission on the roof exploring the voice of the natural elements; and a large scale LED installation that brings together the voices of international activists, philosophers, and poets.

3. Sydney, Australia

For Earth Day 2019, Sydney is holding an incredible 24,901-mile challenge where event organizers will find out how many times participants can run the entire length of the equator. The challenge needs 415 participants to run at least 2 miles each day in April to make the distance around the equator at least once—calling all runners, joggers, and walkers!

Sydney will also have experts in clean energy talk about how companies and technology impact the condition of the planet. These experts in clean energy and environmental entrepreneurship will share their insights into how industries have an impact on the environment on April 23 at The Podium Building on Market Street.

4. Tokyo, Japan

Yoyogi Park in Tokyo sees over 100,000 Earth-conscious people gather each year to learn how to live more sustainably from various NPOs and speakers. Earth-conscious artists and musicians perform in the park over the weekend and visitors can find plenty of organic products and local business' explaining their respective green initiatives. One of the highlights of the celebration is the Tokyo Vegetarian Festival, which offers delicious, ecologically-sourced food.

5. Vancouver, Canada

Canada's "Party for the Planet" takes place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, at the City Hall Plaza in Surrey, where three stages offer live music and performances. For the kids, there's the Earth Day Pilgrimage to Burns Bog on Sunday, April 28, where more performers sing, dance, and drum as they walk through the gorgeous Delta Nature Reserve. This year, the free outdoor event features keynote speakers, poetry recitals, and music from the Susan Summers and the Sacred Web Singers, as well as Aline LaFlamme and the Daughters of the Drum.


Curious how you can give back this Earth Day? Hop on over to our recent post to find out where to volunteer this year!

GH Tips: How to garden sustainably

By Fred Jéquier

Photo from BBC's Monty Don.

What is sustainability?

Sustainability is never a simple thing to summarize in a brief description, but in 1987, the United Nations defined it as when "design, construction, operations and maintenance practices [...] meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

Photo from United Nations.

Sustainability has become an increasingly important issue in recent years, not just in the larger sense that the UN is working tirelessly to achieve for the betterment of people living in poverty, but also in our day-to-day lives. Whether it's recycling, riding a bike to work, or even reducing the amount of meat we eat, we're all trying to do our bit for the environment. But what about our gardening practices?

On the face of it, working on our gardens seems like a pretty environmentally-friendly activity, but whether we have the classic back garden, an urban community garden, or even a new-age roof garden, there are things that all green-thumbed people can do to ensure that their gardens are environmentally-friendly and continue to be sustainable—producing flowers, vegetables, and shrubbery for years to come—as well as working in harmony with the local environment.

Photo from The Spruce.

Here are some practical ways to make your garden more sustainable and environmentally-friendly.

1. Plant trees

Photo of a a man working with One Tree Planted.

Planting trees is one way to not only improve your garden aesthetically, but it also makes it more healthy. Trees actually store the carbon from the atmosphere that your soil needs to become more fertile and fruitful. Of course, not everyone's garden can necessarily afford to give up space for trees, so why not volunteer with a local organization planting trees in communal areas, such as parks and community gardens?

2. Use natural fertilizers

The use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides can have far-reaching consequences, according to a study by PETA.

To ensure our gardens and the habitats in them stay healthy, it is a good idea to try to avoid using synthetic fertilizers, and as much as possible, avoid using pesticides. Do you really want all those chemicals going from your vegetable patch to your plate? There are many other sustainable ways to help your garden thrive and grow—the most obvious of which is using compost. Filled with all the natural nutrients your garden needs, it's an eco-friendly way to keep your plant beds growing strong, and the beauty of it is you can make it yourself.

3. Composting

Photo from Earth Easy.

As we mentioned earlier, recycling is an important part of sustainability, and this includes our food and garden waste. By making your own compost, you're ensuring that all that leftover food and lawn clippings aren't simply ending up in a landfill somewhere. When making your own compost, you want to keep a balance between the brown and green plant matter, and you might be surprised as to what you can put in your mix.

To keep that good bacteria busy and active, the green matter is helped by grass clippings and kitchen waste. You can use your fruit peels, vegetables that are past their prime, and even coffee grounds. The brown plant matter is helped by shredded newspaper, wood chips, and dry leaves, so you can keep hold of yesterday's sports pages, and don't just bag up those leaves on the driveway when you've finished sweeping them up. Think of it as food for the garden!

4. Weed out the weeds

Every area has weeds that are native to it, and it's important to find out what may be growing in your area and during which season. Sometimes the worst garden weeds look like they're nothing more than wildflowers minding their own business, so it's important to know the difference. It's pretty tempting when you see evidence of weeds in your garden to get the herbicide out, but before you do that, there are natural ways to get rid of them. Tricks such as using salt, vinegar, boiling water, or simply removing them from the root can often be enough to a put a stop to them.

5. Diversity is key

When planning out your garden, try to get as many different species of plants as possible. Creating biodiversity is a good way to ensure that your prize flowers bloom for as long as possible, and keep coming back year after year. A wide range of plants also encourages local wildlife to visit your garden. Small birds and insects are an important part of a garden's life cycle, especially when it comes to pollination. Encouraging these habitats to spring up helps to keep your garden in ecological harmony with your surrounding environment.

6. Get the kids involved

As the old adage says, kids are the future. By getting your kids to help you in the garden and learning eco-friendly and sustainable gardening practices, it'll become second nature to them. No matter if it's at home, school, or in the local community, by teaching kids the right way to garden early on, you can make sure that they will continue to follow these practices as they grow older and start their own gardens.


Want to take sustainability to the next level? Expand your eco-friendly way of life to the day-to-day with some our favorite wellness tips!