Earth Day is the day designated for fostering appreciation of the earth’s environment and awareness of the issues that threaten it. In 1970, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson proposed a bill designating April 22 as a national day to celebrate the earth. At present, Earth Day is observed in 175 countries and coordinated by the nonprofit Earth Day Network (EDN). The passage of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act are considered to be products associated with the 1970 Earth Day.

Each year, the Earth Day Network chooses a theme for Earth Day and this year the focus is ,”The Face of Climate Change”.  For Earth Day 2013, they are collecting and displaying images of how climate change has impacted your life and those around you. An interactive digital display of all the images will be shown at thousands of Earth Day events around the world.

The idea behind the theme is to personalize the challenge climate change presents by spreading the stories of those individuals, animals and places affected through imagery. Some of the images already part of the project include a man in the Maldives worried about relocating his family as sea levels rise, a polar bear in the melting arctic, a farmer in Kansas struggling to make ends meet as a prolonged drought decimates crops, a tiger in India’s dwindling mangrove forests, a child in New Jersey who lost her home to Hurricane Sandy, an orangutan in Indonesian forests ravaged by bush fires and drought and a woman in Bangladesh who can’t get fresh water due to more frequent flooding and cyclones. EDN is also including many images of people doing their part to address climate change: green entrepreneurs, community activists, clean tech engineers, carbon-conscious policymakers and public officials and average people committed to living sustainably.

There are Earth Day events happening in every corner of the U.S. and around the world and EDN encourages you to reach out to your local environmental organizations to see what opportunities there are.

It is important to remember that while we want many people engaged in Earth Day events, there are small actions that you and the young people in your life can take every day to help ensure a sustainable world.

  1. Start a vegetable garden: kids will learn how plants grow (and that vegetables don’t come from the grocery store) and your food will have traveled zero miles to reach your plate.
  2. Unplug electronics when you’re not using them: many electronics pull energy even when they are powered down.
  3. Earth Day is a good time to make a commitment to learning more about the environment and how you can help to protect it. Borrow some library books and read up on an issue such as pollution, endangered species, water shortages, recycling and climate change. Or, learn about a region you’ve never considered before, like the Arctic, the deserts, or the rain forests. Think about the issues that concern you the most and if you haven’t done so already, join a local group that undertakes activities to help protect the environment in your area.
  4. Buy as little as possible and avoid items that come in lots of packaging. Support local growers and producers of food and products – these don’t have to travel as far and so reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Take your drink container with you, and don’t use any disposable plates or cutlery. Recycle all the things you do use for the day or find other uses for things that you no longer use. Carry a cloth bag for carrying things in and recycle your plastic bags.
  5. Many of us take up a lot of natural resources with stuff we don’t really need, want or use. Ironically, there’s a still lot of people who don’t have basic necessities. Plus, a lot of your unwanted clutter can be used by local charities to resell for much-needed cash.
  6. Rid litter from our roadways. Many groups use the weekend of Earth Day to clear roadways, highways and neighborhood streets of litter that has accumulated since the last clean-up day. Many companies donate gloves and bags for clean-up groups and communities organize bag pick ups. Once the group has collected the trash and placed the recycled bags along the road, ask the public works department to pick the bags up. It’s a wonderful community project. Great for scout troops or rotary clubs.
  7. Try making up a simple vinegar-and-water counter cleaner or swap out your bleach cleaner for a less-toxic green-based one. You don’t necessarily have to give up your heavy-duty cleaners–just try using them when you really need to disinfect, rather than simply clean.
  8. Get your children involved. By giving their old toys and games to other children who could make use of them, older children learn two lessons: One is about giving to others and the second is about reusing and recycling instead of throwing things away.

Cook A Special Earth Day Meal.

Plan a menu that uses locally produced foods, is healthy and has minimal impact on the environment. Favor vegetable and bean products, as these use less resources to grow than mass-farmed meat. If you still would like meat, look for locally produced, grass fed, organic meat or wild caught, sustainable fish. Try and have organic food completely. Decorate the table with recycled decorations made by you and your friends.

Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 4 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 (32 ounce) box low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 4 cups packed chopped kale
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can Italian-style diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can no-salt-added cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Grated Pecorino Romano cheese.

Directions:

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes longer. Add broth, kale, tomatoes, carrots and cover. Cook 5 minutes or until kale is tender. Add beans and oregano and heat thoroughly. Serve with cheese.

Mediterranean Grass-Fed Ground Beef Kebabs

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 pounds ground grass-fed beef
  • 1/4 cup grated white onion
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for medium-high heat cooking.

In a large bowl, combine beef, onion, parsley, spices, salt and pepper. Using your hands or a large spoon, gently mix the ingredients together until just combined—do not overwork.

Have ready 4 long metal skewers; form the beef mixture into 8 short sausage shapes and thread 2 onto each skewer. Brush with oil and grill, turning frequently, until browned and just cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Serve skewers with Tabbouleh.

Tabbouleh

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup bulgur wheat, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 5 green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cups small grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and seeded, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt, pepper and crushed red pepper to taste

Directions:

Combine all ingredients together in a large serving bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Serve room temperature or chilled.

Strawberry Pie

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces Italian amaretti cookies or graham crackers
  • 1/4 cup butter or vegan non-hydrogenated margarine, melted
  • 2 pounds strawberries, hulled and halved, divided
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • Ice cream (optional)

Directions:

Pulse cookies in a food processor until finely ground. (You should have about 1 3/4 cups crumbs.) Add butter and pulse again until completely blended. Transfer to a 9-inch pie pan and press evenly into the bottom and sides. Chill in refrigerator or freezer while preparing filling.

Put half of the strawberries into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped and juicy; transfer to a medium pot. Add sugar, water and cornstarch and whisk to combine. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil, stirring often, until very thick and glossy, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside to cool, stirring occasionally, until lukewarm, about 20 minutes.

Fill crust with remaining strawberries, pour strawberry mixture over the top and smooth out to ensure it fills in the space between berries. Chill until set, 1 to 2 hours. Cut into slices, top with a spoonful of ice cream, if desired and serve.

 

About these ads