Even when we can’t celebrate together, local Earth Day organizers have found 50 ways to take big and small actions for the planet on this 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

Thanks to Bridging the Gap, City of Kansas City, MO Office of Environmental Quality, KCMO Parks & Recreation, Heartland Conservation Alliance, Kansas Chapter of Sierra Club, Mid-America Solid Waste Management District, Science City and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 7 for these ideas. Choose your favorite and share how you are celebrating at #EarthDayKC50.

  1. Learn about and implement solutions from Kansas City’s regional Climate Action Playbook.
  2. Participate in the regional Climate Action Plan.
  3. Contact local policy makers and urge them to adopt policies recommended by the Climate Action Playbook.
  4. Participate in the Connected KC 2050 Transportation Plan .
  5. Promote, protect and strengthen green infrastructure throughout the metro area.
  6. Drive less. Don’t idle your engine. Combine multiple trips into one, and take the bus, walk or ride a bike to run errands.
  7. Reduce food waste.
  8. Compost food waste in your backyard.
  9. Reduce consumption, repair and reuse what you have, and buy only things that can be recycled or composted.
  10. Plant native plants to attract pollinators and reduce flash flooding.
  11. Learn what can and cannot be recycled.
  12. Start a garden or support a community garden.
  13. Plant a fruit tree in your yard.
  14. Calculate and reduce your carbon footprint.
  15. Donate to and volunteer with a local environmental non-profit.
  16. Connect your downspouts to a rain barrel.
  17. Plant a shade tree 20 feet southwest of your house (call Dig Safe first!).
  18. Install a programmable thermostat in your home.
  19. Keep your thermostat set to 78° F in the summer and 68° F in the winter.
  20. Switch to LED lightbulbs.
  21. Coordinate a neighborhood litter clean-up; make sure everyone follows social-distancing guidelines.
  22. Remove invasive plants from your yard and local natural areas.
  23.  Hike or bike a trail in greater KC. Keep a bag in your pocket to pick up trash or recyclables.
  24. Learn how you can provide better wildlife habitat in your yard.
  25. Purchase an “Eastern pollinator bundle” from KS Forest Service and share plants with neighbors.
  26. Replace older, less efficient appliances with new ones that have the Energy Star rating. Purchase during the Missouri Show-Me Green Sales Tax Holiday through April 25 and pay no sales tax on qualified appliances.
  27. Avoid products with excessive packaging.
  28. Sign up to stop receiving junk mail.
  29. Explore the Blue River and its tributaries.
  30. Explore local native prairies, glades, and woodlands.
  31. Use reusable coffee mugs and drink containers.
  32. Turn off all electronics overnight.
  33. Use cold water for laundry.
  34. Make sure your water heater is set no higher than 120° F.
  35. Add solar or wind power to your home.
  36. Participate in virtual events celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
  37. Do an ecological learning activity with your kids to identify “Producers, Consumers and Decomposers.”
  38. Learn about monarch butterflies, hummingbirds and other animals. Become a citizen scientist by helping track migrations.
  39. Keep your car well-maintained to reduce air pollution and operating costs.
  40. Eat less meat.
  41. Buy organic products when possible.
  42. Support local farmers by getting a community-supported agriculture subscription.
  43. Buy locally-made consumer goods whenever possible.
  44. If your toilet runs between uses, replace the flapper.
  45. Turn off the tap during hand washing and teeth brushing.
  46. Shorten your shower to five minutes or less.
  47. Use reusable shopping bags (some stores have prohibited these in response to COVID-19).
  48. Make your own non-toxic home cleaning products.
  49. How many bird species are in your backyard? Get a guide to North American birds and start listing the birds you see.
  50. Go canoeing, kayaking or sailboarding on an area lake.

Photo: Finland Lakeland / CC