Earth Day is here again, and there are plenty of ways you can celebrate nature and reduce your footprint — and spread awareness on how others can do the same.

This environmental appreciation holiday, celebrated on April 22 every year, began with an idea U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin. On the first Earth Day in 1970, 20 million people hit the streets to protest on behalf of the environment, inspired by many movements in the previous decade as well as events like the 1969 Cuyahoga River fire in Cleveland, Ohio, and a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, the same year.

Check out some ways you can help the environment on this great holiday (and every day!).

1. BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag)

Earth DayEarth Day is a great time to get in the habit of bringing reusable bags to places like the library and grocery store. Who hasn’t seen plastic bags blowing across the street, stuck on a tree, or floating around a lake? Every time you use a reusable tote bag instead, you are helping to save the environment.

And when you do forget your cute bag, be sure to recycle plastic bags appropriately. Many grocery stores offer plastic bag recycling bins near their entrances.

2. Turn It Off

Reduce your use of electricity by unplugging for the day. Turn off the TV, remember to flip the light switch when you leave a room, and go without air conditioning. Instead of using electricity inside, get outside for a run or enjoy quality time with your friends sans computer. You might find that you really enjoy it!

Earth Day3. Volunteer

There are likely plenty of events happening in honor of Earth Day in your community — so get out there and join in! From beach or park cleanups to lectures and rallies, you’ll meet new friends with similar interests while doing good things for your town.

4. Educate Yourself and Others

Spend some time learning about simple ways you can save the environment and share these everyday methods with your friends and family. Every little bit makes a difference.

The world is an amazing place worth saving. Don’t believe us? Just check out these facts.

5. Invest in a Reusable Coffee Cup and/or Water Bottle

Earth DayEveryone knows that styrofoam is terrible for the environment — Cleveland State University reports that it requires more than a million years to decompose. But every time you stop for a coffee, you’re contributing to that terrible problem. Instead, buy a fun reusable coffee cup — even Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks have options they’ll refill if you don’t want to brew it at home.

As for gym lovers, be sure to pack a reusable water bottle instead of using a new plastic bottle for every work out.

6. Write a Letter to Your Officials

Find out who your senator, representative, or other government officials are and write them a letter or email voicing your environmental concerns. They’re supposed to represent the wants of their people, so you have to let them know what you want. Once they hear from enough people concerned about the environment, they’ll start to prioritize environmental programs in your area.

7. Give Your Car a Break

Did you know a single gallon of gas sends 19 lbs. of carbon dioxide into the air? This Earth Day, leave the car in the garage. Walk, ride your bike, or use public transportation to get around instead. A little extra exercise will make you feel better while you’re doing good in the world!

Earth Day is a great opportunity to change your habits, meet new friends through events, and educate your peers about simple ways they can help the environment. By turning these simple solutions into habits, you can make every day Earth Day!

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