Individuals are a small part of a greater community, and what one person does can impact many others. Consider participating in these six actions that support and celebrate Earth Day’s mission throughout the year.
Walk or bike: Lower your greenhouse gas emissions by ditching the car and walking or biking to work or school on the more than 350 miles of paved and unpaved trails in the Forest Preserves or neighborhood sidewalks and bike lanes. Visit the our Trails Page to learn more about how trails connect Cook County, and check out the Active Transportation Alliance’s biking guide for tips and tricks for biking to work.
Be a community scientist: A career or degree in science isn’t necessary to participate in important research. Consider joining the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Budburst program to monitor plants throughout the growing season, Audubon’s wintry Christmas Bird Count or the iNaturalist bioinventory. Visit the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website for a full list of community science programs.
Volunteer with the Forest Preserves: Volunteering is a wonderful way to bond with others and give back to the community. When social distancing ordinances ease, visit the Forest Preserves volunteer webpage to learn more about ecological restoration and cleanup work dates and activities.
Donate: One person’s unwanted stuff is another person’s treasure. Donate clothes, electronics, appliances and books to a local organization. Donating can prevent goods from filling landfills and helps those in need, according to the U.S. EPA.
Participate in community gardening: Enjoy the fruits of labor alongside neighbors by joining a community gardening project. Community gardens can limit emissions from food transport and improve ecological quality in the area. Visit the NeighborSpace’s webpage to learn about community gardens or the Chicago Urban Agriculture Mapping Project to see dozens of locations around Chicagoland.
Shop a farmers market: Farmers markets are a great way to venture into the community and meet the people responsible for growing fresh produce in the region. Many farmers markets are environmentally friendly because producers often don’t use harsh chemicals or pesticides and closer markets means less transportation emissions. For more information about farmers markets in Illinois, visit the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s website.