Woman standing with profile view and fisted hand brought to chin at bottom of outdoor stairs

Photo courtesy of tonl.co

It’s hard not to get swept up in the revitalizing energy of April — even those notorious showers can’t dampen the urge to dig out dusty bikes or head for a favorite hiking trail. And while we rush outside to take in spring’s renewal, we can also take advantage of this month’s myriad opportunities to give back to the earth.

With national concerns about climate change at an all-time high, communities across the US (and over 180 other countries) will be hosting a variety of events to promote a healthier, more sustainable world. You can learn about Earth Day and Arbor Day events near you through your local news or environmental action organizations, or access free resources to help coordinate your own. 

But don’t stop there! The planet needs protecting all year long, so get inspired this season to get (and stay) involved. Here are three environmental movements you can join right now to help create lasting change.

Hand holding mason jar with metal straw

Photo courtesy of @makenamedia/Twenty20

Kick Plastic Straws

Reduce plastic pollution AND protect wildlife — all while enjoying your favorite iced beverage? Easy. Take a pass on plastic beverage straws. They can be prone to landing directly into the waste stream because of their small size, and therefore becoming dangerous to marine life. Efforts to remove plastic straws from the waste stream have been active for years, but the movement has recently gained new momentum through campaigns like Ditch the Straw” (led by the California-based Surfrider Foundation) and the Lonely Whale Foundation’s #StopSucking initiative.

Get Involved: Visit the Plastic Pollution Coalition website to learn how to remove plastic straws from your daily routine, your community, and the environment. We are big fans of glass straws, if you’re still in need of a drinking too

Bees pollinating white flowers with green grass background

Photo courtesy of @lightbeautifies/Twenty20

Save (All) the Bees

Stand up for the rights of some of the busiest and most indispensable agricultural insects on the planet. They are, perhaps, the earth’s most critical pollinator of food crops, essentially providing us with the produce we put on our plates. There are over 4,000 species of bees in the wild, and nearly all of them are threatened by human activities like pesticide application, habitat destruction, and cross-country hive transportation (to support industrial agriculture). Recent awareness-raising campaigns have largely focused on well-known species like bumble and honey bees, leading to encouraging trends like the rise in urban beekeeping. But there are many other, less visible varieties of native pollinators that play unique and critical roles in helping plant populations thrive.

Get Involved: Check out SaveBees.org for an excellent starter guide to pollinator protection, including home and gardening tips, food sourcing suggestions, and more.

Basket on top of bed holding jeans, sweatshirt, and sweater

Photo courtesy of @Lesia.Valentain/Twenty20

Buy Second-Hand, First

Fast fashion may make style experimentation easy and inexpensive, but it has a bit of a waste problem. The Council for Textile Recycling has reported that the US creates approximately 25 billion pounds of textile waste per year, nearly 21 billion pounds of which ends up in landfills. Recently, more clothing brands have been stepping up to help close the loop, but we’re still tossing way more tops than these recycling services can handle.

So what’s the easiest way to stem the textile tide? Invest in fewer pieces, and get more out of them. Spend some quality time exploring your local consignment stores and thrift shops. Or, make it a party! Host a clothing swap with friends — after the exchange, use the opportunity to group-learn some basic sewing techniques to help tailor your new-to-you finds. 

Get Involved: Pick-up some alteration techniques from a sewing-savvy friend, or browse tutorials on YouTube. Online shopping more your thing? Sign-up for an online clothing swap site to begin style-sharing with conscious shoppers across the country.