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5 Easy, Impactful Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

Posted by Kirsten Pisto, Communications

We know you all love animals and want to protect wildlife, but it’s not always easy to know what you can do from home that will make a difference. This Earth Day, we've made a list of five easy, impactful ways you can celebrate Planet Amazing (that's Earth).


A starlit sky over tiger territory in Peninsular Malaysia. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren. Woodland Park Zoo.
Why: Every year people turn off their lights during Earth Hour. The worldwide one-hour event has become a symbol for appreciating the planet, but you can celebrate Earth Hour all year long. Spend some time in the dark once or twice a week, or promise to turn out the majority of your lights an hour before bedtime, you'll sleep better too! Turning off lights and unplugging is an easy way to save energy and become mindful of how much energy you are using.

How: 40% of total U.S. energy consumption is consumed in residential and commercial buildings. Simply turning off appliances and lights when not in use has a big impact.

Pro tip: Unplug your electronic devices from the wall or turn them completely off with a power switch. Leaving them plugged in, especially items like phone chargers, can still slowly suck energy. According to the EPA, idle gadgets (aka Vampire electronics) suck up to $10 billion in energy annually. Yikes.


You'd do anything for this little nugget, right? Well, recycling your old cell can help Yola's wild cousins. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren. Woodland Park Zoo.
Why: On Earth Day, come recycle your handheld electronics with us through ECO-CELL to preserve gorilla habitat. By reclaiming the minerals in your electronics and diverting them from landfills, we can reduce demand for mining in gorilla habitat.

How: Bring any old cellphones, MP3 players, or tablets hanging around your house to the zoo on Earth Day and drop them off at our ECO-CELL stations.

Pro tip: Funds generated from recycled electronics will go toward our Mbeli Bai Gorilla Project that works to protect gorilla families like Yola’s in the Republic of Congo. 


You can do it, we promise. Photo by Dennis Dow, Woodland Park Zoo.
Why: Plant-based diets benefit the environment and our overall health. If you are looking for an easy way to lighten your carbon footprint, this is it. Adopting a  mostly vegetarian diet can cut food-related greenhouse gas emissions by more than two-thirds.

How: Go vegetarian once or twice a week or commit to local, organic meat options. With a suite of awesome vegetarian recipes readily available online its easy to find something you'll enjoy. Best excuse for homemade cheese pizza ever. 

Pro tip: You don't have to give up on meat entirely, as it provides lots of great nutrition and some healthy fats, but try to limit what you do consume. While you're at it, make sure your fish is on the seafood watch list.


A gray wolf shakes off a thick Seattle rain. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, Woodland Park Zoo.
Why: While over 70% of our planet is covered in water, only 3% is fresh water. Of that, less than 1% is available for consumption. Saving water isn't just about saving water. The energy needed to treat and deliver water is also precious. Saving water helps reduce pollution and conserve fuel too.

How: The biggest water guzzler in your house is probably in your bathroom. Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth. Take a shorter shower. Consider installing water-friendly toilets and shower nozzles. Always wash laundry and dishes at full loads. Never ignore leaky faucets.

Pro tip: Can't You Hear Me Knockin' by The Rolling Stones is seven minutes and fifteen seconds. Finish your shower before it ends!


Gunnar believes in your ability to speak up for wildlife! Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, Woodland Park Zoo.
Why: Humans are responsible for pollution, deforestation, industrial waste, greenhouse gases, urban sprawl and really bad memes, but we are also capable of change. Being an advocate for wildlife and wild places is an incredibly important role.

How: Think about energy and resources. We have a finite amount of it, it’s precious and can be expensive. Recycling isn’t just about reusing your jeans, it’s about not wasting energy making a new pair, right? One of the most-effective ways to be a steward for mother nature is changing your mindset to think about the amount of energy and resources you are using. Examples of this include buying higher-end products that might last a lifetime rather than a less expensive option that will wear out quickly. It’s also about being vocal about the products and companies you support; your consumer choice is incredibly powerful!

Support companies and products that pledge to offset their carbon emissions, use recycled materials and take corporate sustainability and environmental impact seriously.

Pro tip: When buying paper or wood products look for the FSC label, which means the product is Forest Stewardship Council certified. Buying FSC supports companies who practice responsible forest management and saves habitat for forest-dwellers, 70% of Earth's animals and plants.


The one thing that will have the most immediate impact is your decision to act. On Earth Day, Woodland Park Zoo invites the community to be advocates for our planet with action opportunities throughout the zoo. Sign cards for a few of our Congress members to thank them for their commitment to the planet, learn about personal actions you can adopt at home and take home a biodegradable coaster embedded with non-invasive seeds that can be planted into a garden or pot, germinating later into beautiful flowers.

See you on Earth Day, Saturday April 22!

This tiger is counting on you. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, Woodland Park Zoo.
There are about a million ways you can be a more sustainable creature on Earth. That’s good news, it means we can all find ways to change our behavior to lower our impact. 


Unknown said…
Amazing post i really enjoyed this podcast.
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Anonymous said…
Excellent information. Thanks for being a good example for stewardship.