Cork river discussion, litter picks and new documentaries: Five ways to celebrate Earth Day

From litter kits and seed discounts to new documentaries, there are plenty of ways to mark the event from home
Cork river discussion, litter picks and new documentaries: Five ways to celebrate Earth Day

Earth Day's virtual events will take place on www.earthday.org later today.

On April 22 1970, around 20 million people took to the streets in the US to celebrate the first Earth Day, in what is still the largest turnout for a single-day protest in history. The collective call for action led to substantial environmental reform in the White House a year later.

Since then, over one billion people have been mobilised by the initiative, which has organising bodies present in 192 countries around the world.

This year’s events will again be held online because of the pandemic, but there are still loads of ways to celebrate this year’s theme: ‘Restore Our Earth’.

From growing guides to webinars, here a few things you can do to mark the day from home.

Get educated 

The EarthDay.org live digital event is being held at 5pm Irish time and will feature workshops, talks, performances, and panel discussions that you can take part in over on Earthday.org. 

If you’re looking for something more locally-focused, search for webinars like today’s Valuing Cork’s Rivers event by Conscious Lee, who have tonnes of educational information available on their website.

UNICEF's website also has great resources for kids and teens, including videos and blank postcards that can be used for writing to those in power. 

US President Joe Biden will also be hosting a virtual Climate Summit today with over 40 different leaders from around the world to see what changes can be made. You can follow the coverage online.

Do a litter pick 

Inniscarra Bar Graveyard Restoration committee volunteers doing a cleanup of the cemetery this month.
Inniscarra Bar Graveyard Restoration committee volunteers doing a cleanup of the cemetery this month.

National Spring Clean is Ireland’s most popular litter collecting initiative and has been helping the public get involved with clean-ups for over 20 years. 

Now that we can meet another household outdoors, it's the perfect time to get a friend involved and register for a free clean-up kit. An Taisce will even organise to have the rubbish disposed of for you, free of charge.

There are a lot of local groups coming together to collect rubbish around their towns, such as the Blackrock CleanUp Group, as well. Ask around to find out about any in your area.

Watch a documentary 

Secrets of the Whales debuts on Netflix today. 
Secrets of the Whales debuts on Netflix today. 

If you don’t have much time today, you can always mark the occasion by watching an environmental documentary.

Seaspiracy on Netflix explores the environmental impact of fishing and has gotten great reviews online.

National Geographic’s highly anticipated Secrets of Whales, produced by James Cameron, premieres on Disney+ today.

Greta Thunberg’s A Year to Change the World series also started airing on BBC last week and you can never go wrong by searching for David Attenborough on Netflix.

Do some planting 

GIY is a great resource for budding gardeners.
GIY is a great resource for budding gardeners.

We’ve never had as many gardening supplies available, as we continue to seek refuge in outdoor activities. 

Growing a garden not only attracts wildlife and is good for the air around you, but it also allows you to grow your own food instead of supporting big supermarkets.

For budding gardeners, you can learn where to start from Grow It Yourself Ireland, which is offering 20% off their online shop in honour of Earth Day.

The Innocent Big Grow has free downloadable guides for kids on their website and the Biodiversity Ireland site has an excellent planting code, which is brilliant for anyone looking to plant trees and plants native to Ireland.

Shop local 

Refill shops, such as EarthWay Midleton, create zero-waste.
Refill shops, such as EarthWay Midleton, create zero-waste.

Neighbourfood is a great initiative that brings local producers together online: think visiting the farmer's market on your laptop.

You can get fresh, organic, produce and homegrown supplies from tonnes of shops and producers in your county, as well as environmentally-friendly products from sustainable shops like Unbound in Cork. All you have to do is pay for your basket online and it will be ready for you at collection.

Refill shops have also been popping up everywhere. These waste-free stores have so many supplies - such as rice, flour, and nuts - that you can get by filling up your own container and paying for the weight. Check out EarthWay Refill in Midleton or Leafling Mercantile in Ballinspittle if in Cork.

If you're in need of household supplies, look for the sustainable section in your supermarket. Supervalu usually has a range of environmentally-friendly products, from toilet paper to tin foil, in its stores.

If shopping online, try the likes of Dublin-based The Kind and Reuzi, where you can find everything from low-impact floss to kitchenware. 

For clothing, look at online charity shops like Thriftify or one of many vintage shops listed here.

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