You’ve heard it before: When you give, you receive. And no fuller, lasting reward is had than when we take care of our planet. Environmental projects preserve our natural surroundings and better our land. And in return, the earth provides us with food, sustenance and beauty for generations to come.
Minimize the use of limited resources, strengthen community bonds—the benefits go on and on. There’s also ample opportunity to share and learn from others across generations. Giving time to Mother Earth really means doing good for all.
Not sure where to start? We’ve compiled ways big and small you can give back to our planet:
Conserve, recycle and donate
They’ve become buzz words these days, but don’t let words like conservation or sustainable intimidate you. There’s a reason they’re popular—it’s easy to dive right in! Make a difference right now by:
Groups like Keep America Beautiful, the Earth Day Network and the American Forest Foundation all offer actionable ways for individuals and groups alike to better the environment. Conservation projects range from water projects in New England to Mississippi forest restoration and Wisconsin watershed care.
Clean, clean, clean!
We can all learn a thing or two from Cinderella and do more cleaning! (Minus the wicked stepmother, of course.) There are countless opportunities to clean up our environment, wherever you are:
Plant a tree (or more!)
Deforestation and record wildfire seasons threaten the health of our country’s trees—an effect that could be detrimental. Trees provide countless benefits: They conserve soil, reduce carbon dioxide in the air, create windbreaks to reduce erosion and drought (like the Great Plains Shelterbelt), and help to restore ecological balance overall.
You can find individual and group volunteer opportunities or donate toward forest restoration through the Arbor Day Foundation, the Nature Conservancy’s Plant a Billion Trees campaign and Trees for the Future.
Get your hands dirty
Organic gardening returns organic matter to the soil—improving soil structure, water retention and nutrient cycling, among other benefits. It also helps provide community members with healthy alternatives to unhealthy junk food. Dig in by doing some gardening, donating time at a plant nursery or helping food pantries with their gardens. You can even start or join a community garden, a great way to learn new skills while providing those in need with fresh and healthy food.
Begin with Create the Good’s online guide to starting or joining a community garden or the American Community Gardening Association.