Each year, Earth Day — April 22 — marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement.
This year, it falls on a Saturday, making for an extra-fun weekend of eco-friendly goodness.
Since its inaugural celebration in 1970, the movement has grown to more than one billion people in 192 countries around the world.
The idea for a national day to focus on the environment came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin. In an effort to fuel an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution and to force environmental protection onto the national political agenda, he organized the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970.
The campaign activated 20 million Americans from all walks of life and launched the modern environmental movement, paving the way for the passage of the landmark Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and many other groundbreaking environmental laws.
Today, Earth Day has become the largest secular observance in the world, a day of action that changes human behavior and provokes policy changes. BK Reader has compiled a list of activities and events to celebrate Earth Day in Brooklyn.
Reduce your carbon footprint
There are many small changes you can make in your daily life to reduce your carbon footprint and help the environment. For instance, you can switch to energy-efficient light bulbs, unplug electronics when you're not using them, use reusable bags instead of plastic bags or take public transit instead of driving. You could also enjoy some car-free space by checking out one of the car-free Open Streets in Brooklyn.
Celebrate nature and get educated about environmental issues
Go to one of Brooklyn's family-friendly events that celebrate nature and teach about environmental issues. BK Reader has a bunch of good ones on our weekend events round-up: click here for events like a Haitian spring celebration on East 25th Street between Clarendon Road and Avenue D in Flatbush, a recycled art project at ABC Carpet & Home, and a day of partying, classes and fundraising hosted by Magnolia Tree Earth Center at Von King Park.
Plant a tree or garden
Planting greenery is a great way to celebrate Earth Day. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and gardens of herbs and produce — even by your kitchen window — can help cut back the carbon footprint used to get produce to grocery stores. And, as a plus: It's an inexpensive way to get fresh, organic food! Here's where to get a free tree in Brooklyn.
Participate in a community clean-up or volunteer project
Earth Day is a great time to participate in some community service. Become a steward of your neighborhood or favorite park by picking up any litter that you see or organizing a group of friends to hit the streets and do the same. Or, join one of the local clean-up events, like this one in Brownsville, this one in Bushwick or this one at Prospect Park.