5 Easy Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

UPDATED: April 21, 2023
PUBLISHED: April 22, 2017
people planting trees to celebrate earth day

Since 1970 Earth Day has been celebrated in the U.S. on April 22—and in countries around the world since 1990. Many countries have personalized this celebration by combining values from their unique cultures with global action, placing intention into the celebration of our shared home. Need some inspiration to get your own Earth Day celebration started? Here’s what you can learn from our global neighbors.

Educate yourself to celebrate Earth Day.

Earth Day is eponymous to “Pachamama,” a term used by Andean communities to refer to Mother Earth. Rituals celebrating Mother Earth are held Aug. 1 in the Andean country. However, the nation is so passionate about sustainability and conservation that Bolivia convinced the United Nations to officially recognize April 22 as International Mother Earth Day.

Celebrate Earth Day Bolivia-style by researching organizations where you can contribute time, money or your specific skillset to raise awareness about environmental changes.

Mindfully enjoy nature’s gifts.

Norway ranks in the top 10 of the happiest countries on Earth for good reason. Residents have unabated access to an enchanting natural scenery that does more than inspire movies such as Disney’s Frozen. After all, Norwegians’ connection to the environment is, some say, the very secret to their cheerfulness.

So it comes as no surprise that to celebrate Earth Day, locals have previously enjoyed a weeklong celebration riddled with community events and an annual parade. Mixing the arts with the outdoors is their own recipe for a joyous Earth Day. Families and groups of friends step outside in hordes to enjoy music and laughs under the much-welcome rays of sun that accompany the spring blossoms after a long, dark winter.

Take a leaf from Norway’s book and try your own nature therapy. Gather with friends and take a hike on a new trail or host a picnic in the park. Revel in friendship and sunshine.

Celebrate Earth Day by taking back the streets.

Our northern neighbor has no shortage of green areas. “With almost 362 million hectares (ha), Canada ranks as the country with the third-largest forest area in the world,” according to “The State of Canada’s Forests” 2022 report. However, despite the expanse of nature available to many Canadians, not all city residents have the luxury to play outside. While a ban on street hockey in Toronto was lifted in 2016, another went into action two years later, this time in a Vancouver Island neighborhood, which prohibited street play. 

A 2021-2022 “Play Street Pilot Initiative” offered a solution to any street-safety concerns. A “play street,” or “a residential street temporarily opened for play by reducing and calming vehicular traffic,” according to the website, offers a chance for children to get outside without parents having to be concerned about cars. And it’s already been successfully tested. Results of a 2017 “StreetPLAY Pilot Program” in Toronto, Ontario, Canada “[indicated] the positive response from parents and non-parent community members towards reintroducing neighborhood streets for children’s outdoor play… [demonstrating] the potential for success in implementing the StreetPLAY intervention on Toronto’s neighborhood streets.”

Although a street play ban might not be something you have to deal with, there are plenty of people who don’t have easy access to big green areas to play and gather in. Celebrate Earth Day by looking for organizations in your area that are hosting free events for city residents, and consider volunteering your team or helping to spread the word.

Make eco-conscious decisions.

Earth Day Tokyo, which began in 2001, is celebrated April 15-16 and 22-23 this year, with the main festivities taking place in Yoyogi Park. It’s a lively gathering full of art, music, activities such as “plogging” (a combination of jogging and trash clean-up) and general good humor. And it’s all centered around sustainability and eco-friendly values. 

While you may not have access to similar gatherings, you can create your own mix of the offerings available. Consider supporting small businesses and making eco-conscious decisions when shopping, or try taking your own “plogging” trip around your neighborhood or even a local park. 

Try sustainable crafting or volunteering to celebrate Earth Day.

Looking for another big-city celebration? Try New York City on for size. Parks and institutions across the city’s boroughs host family-friendly events that range in size, focus and age range. From talks and workshops based on climate science and activism to child-friendly activities, craft fairs and concerts, activities abounded for every age and interest.

Interested in crafts for yourself, or as an activity to engage in with your child? Research different eco-friendly crafts to see what you can do at home to Celebrate Earth Day. Try using recycled paper and fabrics for craft materials, or even try your own hand at weaving. If you’re looking to get outside, see what volunteer opportunities are in your area. Perhaps you’ll find a community garden or tree-planting opportunity, and make some new friends in the process.

There’s no doubt that this special day is a momentous occasion to enjoy our planet and mindfully care for it. If participating in a big event isn’t up your alley, try a quieter option to honor our Mother Earth. Go out for a hike and enjoy a good dose of ecotherapy. Carry out your normal lifestyle but carpool or ride your bike instead. Plant a tree with a loved one. Pitch in at a neighborhood cleanup action. Or donate some change to a good environmental cause.

Want to take it up a notch? Adopt any of these for longer than a day, and begin to make a difference all year long.

This article was updated April 2023. Photo by Viktoriia Hnatiuk/Shutterstock

Carla McKirdy is a Texan writer gone nomad. A UN consultant, she's lived in over a dozen countries spread throughout three different continents — taking the concept of slow travel to a whole new level. Carla's work on global issues has been featured in The Guardian, Vice, Bust Magazine and other publications with international reach. She is also the founder & CEO of Lingua Boutique and loves to help people communicate across borders. For fun, she collects cats (two) and postgraduate degrees (also two: development economics, Romance languages). Get in touch with her at [email protected]