Every year in April, Earth Day presents a great opportunity to educate yourself and your family about the values of green living and protecting the local environment. Whether you are looking to spend a day, week or month celebrating the blue and green planet we call home, these quick tips will help you bring a little green into your life.

1. Pick up litter. Head out into your neighborhood and pick up litter and debris scattered about the sidewalks and roadways. Removing litter helps create a cleaner Kentucky for everyone to enjoy. Take time to talk to your family about the importance of keeping streams and roadways clean to protect the waterways where litter eventually ends up.

2. Separate your recyclables. Designate a separate container in your home for collecting recyclable waste. When the container is full, take a trip over to the local recycling center to drop it off or contact your local solid waste coordinator to have it picked up. While recycling programs differ by county, items that are usually accepted include paper, cardboard, plastic bottles, steel food cans and aluminum soda cans.

3. Enjoy the great outdoors. Celebrate Earth Day outside where you can enjoy the environment you are helping to preserve. Playing a friendly game of basketball, taking a hike and hosting a family picnic not only encourages exercise and a healthy lifestyle, it reduces your energy consumption at home.

4. Pack a waste-free lunch. Reduce, reuse and recycle family lunches by utilizing reusable food containers and lunchboxes, composting leftover food and recycling beverage containers. If you are packing items that need to be kept cold, use a reusable ice pack. Make sure to only pack items that you can eat, reuse, recycle or compost.

5. Take shorter showers. Did you know conventional showerheads flow at an average of 5 gallons per minute? Low-flow showerheads, while more efficient, come in at an average of 2.5 gallons. Challenge your family to conserve water and energy by taking shorter showers. At the end of a day or week, whoever has the shortest shower time (while still getting clean, of course) is the winner.

Looking for other ways to celebrate Earth Day? Join us for our 30-day Instagram photo challenge.


Originally from Southeastern Kentucky, Crystal Barnes graduated from Berea College with an English degree in 2013. There, she developed and fostered an interest in marketing and graphic design. In her free time, Crystal can be found binge watching Grey’s Anatomy, hanging out with the geese in her neighborhood or reading a book in the shade of a tree.


This article appeared in KY Forward on March 19, 2015.