We have holidays dedicated to everything from flags to consumption (ahem Black Friday), so it only seems right that Planet Earth should get one too. On Earth Day, cities, businesses, and individuals all roll out the green carpet. No doubt you’ve seen lots of famous brands touting Earth Day initiatives or heard about eco-friendly events being planned in your own community. Unfortunately, most of these events have changed from “do something nice for the Earth” events to “buy this thing that is maybe a little greener than the alternative but mostly just something you need to BUY” events. But that doesn’t mean you should hide indoors feeling guilty on April 22nd. On the contrary, there are lots of easy and fun ways to celebrate Earth Day that can actually make a difference all year long. Find below 9 activities to commemorate Earth Day in Cap Cana.
1. Don’t Drive
I know, I know. At face value, this doesn’t sound like much fun at all. But that’s only because you’ve forgotten how awesome the alternatives can be. Since our cars are some of the greatest sources of pollution in our daily lives, it makes sense to start there.
A short commute to work may not seem like a big polluter. Let’s say you drive 10 miles (16 kilometers) each way. That means about a single gallon (3.7 liters) of gas round-trip — maybe even less.
But that single gallon of gas sends 19 pounds (8.6 kilograms) of carbon dioxide into the air. That’s almost twice as much as running central air conditioning for a day, and central air is one of the biggest household polluters. So keeping those 19 pounds of greenhouse gas out of the air is a nice way to pitch in on Earth Day.
Give your car the day off this Earth Day. Plan to get to work, school, and happy hour using another, more eco-friendly mode of transportation instead. Walk, ride your bike, take the bus or train, roller blade or skateboard! Even carpooling is better than chugging gas all the way home and back just so little old you doesn’t have to burn any calories.
By now, most of us realize that recycling makes sense and we should do it. Slowly but surely, recycling has become available in just about every city and town. This Earth Day and if possible every day, help make sure all recyclables end up properly recycled instead of taking up space or leaching toxins in a landfill. As part of the social and recycling programs in place, newspapers and magazines from Cap Cana offices are donated to the artisans of the Nuevo Juanillo community to make beautiful and unique hand-made bags. If you have an old magazine collection which you would like to donate to our artisans, bring them to the Information and Sales Center located on the lateral street to Cap Cana’s Main Gate to gladly supply our artisans. Also for the disposal of recyclables, please visit the recyclables collection center installed at the Cap Cana Heritage School.
3. Plant Food
In a world dominated by factory farms and fast food, growing your own food is a revolutionary act. Organic and locally-grown food, while vastly better for you and the planet, can be cost prohibitive. The easiest way to opt out of our corrupt food system without breaking the bank is to grow it yourself. This Earth Day, plant one thing that can be consumed by your family. Maybe it’s just a few basil plants, or maybe it’s an entire garden. Put it on your windowsill, your fire escape, or your kitchen wall. But no matter what, get something growing.
4. Go Solar
You’re probably tempted to skip right over this option because you a) don’t own a house or b) don’t have the finances to install solar panels on it. But wait! Rooftop solar is only one way to turn free solar power into free, renewable electricity. Smaller solar harvesting devices are popping up all over, from pocket-sized phone chargers to portable multi-panel kits. Think about how many times you charge your phone or laptop. Switching just one or two devices to solar power can save you some serious money and take some pressure off the grid.
5. Get Outside
Earth Day is about enjoying and taking care of the planet, so why spend it inside, glued to a screen? This April 22nd, one of the best things you can do for yourself and the Earth is to remember why it’s worth saving in the first place. Despite our best efforts to pollute and destroy it, the Earth is still an amazing, beautiful place to explore. Go for a hike, take a nature walk with your kids at Scape Park, plan a day paradisiacal fun at Juanillo Beach, or a game of padel, tennis or golf with your buddies. Remember how great it feels to have the wind in your hair and the sun on your face! Reconnecting with nature is the best way to remind yourself why we’re fighting so hard to protect it.
6. Plant a Tree
It might sound like a bit of a cliche, but planting trees is by far one of the most important gifts we can give back to the planet and to ourselves. Global warming is caused by a buildup of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere (such as carbon dioxide and methane), which traps heat on the planet. But trees have the ability to suck up carbon dioxide, which is why the Amazon and other forests are so important. If every person on the planet plants one tree, that amounts to nearly 7 billion new carbon sponges. You can plant a tree in your own backyard, or join a group.
7. Clean Out Your Closet and Donate to a Charity
It may not always be so obvious, but manufacturing new clothing requires both energy and water, and there are many people who don’t have money to buy their own. So this Earth Day, why not clean out your overstuffed closet and then donate those t-shirts and shorts you haven’t worn in years to a local charity. Not only will this make you feel good about lightening your load, but the people who receive your lightly used clothing will so thankful you’ll wonder if it’s Christmas and not Earth Day! The Forjando Un Futuro Foundation through its quarterly Goodwill Market Bazaar receives donations of used items, which are then sold to help fund the Pequeñas Cometas Day Care Center.
8. Watch Koyaanisqatsi
Sometimes we get so caught up in the rat race that we fail to take stock of the damage we, collectively, are doing to the planet. It’s times like these that we might need a little creative and there’s no better place to get that than Reggio’s first film in the Qatsi Trilogy —Koyaanisqatsi. Named after a Hopi Indian word that means “life out of balance,” Koyaanisqatsi explores the relationship between technology and the environment in an apocalyptic film that doesn’t look so different from today’s reality. It will give you a serious wakeup call and inspire you to do everything on this list every day of the year.
9. Go Vegan or Vegetarian for the Day
If you’re already a vegetarian or vegan then this might not be for you, but if you eat meat then this is something that you can do that will make a staggering difference. Both raising beef and the pesticides used are major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, not to mention meat’s harmful impact on your health. For one day, why not try eating a delicious vegan or vegetarian meal. If you keep an open mind you’ll be surprised how delicious it can be. If you’re not confident about your own cooking, go with a friend to a vegan or vegetarian restaurant in your area. Just for a day. You never know, it might become a habit. Visit Gastronomy in Cap Cana for our directory of restaurants where you can eat Vegan.