Don't get me wrong: as a lifelong environmentalist, I think that Earth Day (April 22) serves an invaluable purpose both as a celebration of our wondrous planet and as an opportunity to draw attention to the many serious - literally "life threatening" - challenges facing our natural environment. The only problem with Earth Day is that it's a single day once a year, while our responsibility to the environment is 24/7, every day of the year.
The good news is that there are all kinds of specially designated days and weeks throughout the year that celebrate specific aspects of our environment and reinforce the need to cherish and protect it. And the even better news is, as I've discussed here before, whenever you conserve resources and do something good for Mother Earth, it's usually good for your bank account as well.
Here are some other Earth-friendly dates to mark on your calendar in addition to Earth Day:
- National Park Week (4/20-28): That's right, this week is also National Park Week, with special programs being offered at many of America's 400+ National Parks and FREE admission to all National Parks Monday-Friday, April 22-26.
- National Arbor Day (4/26): A 141-year old celebration to encourage folks to plant and care for trees. The Arbor Day Foundation's website is leafy with tree tips and other resources. Plus, did you know that a single mature tree can increase your home's value by $600 or even more?
- Bike to Work Day (5/17): May is National Bike Month (as in "bicycle") and the whole work week of May 13-17 is National Bike to Work Week, but if your legs are only up to a one-day commute, show your solidarity with fellow cyclists on Friday, May 17.
- National Garden Week (6/2-8): What better way than gardening to commune with nature, to say nothing of beautifying your home and maybe raising some of your own food in the process? National Garden Clubs Inc. has lots of special events and how-to seminars planned for the week.
- National Farmer's Market Week (8/4-10): A celebration of the more than 7,500 farmer's markets across the country, where you can score the freshest locally grown produce and some great deals, particularly if you're buying in bulk for canning or freezing.
- National Wildlife Day (9/4): A day to appreciate and help to protect all of the other animals here on planet Earth.
- National Rideshare Week (10/6-10): This is the week to try a different type of commuting - and save some money - by carpooling, taking public transportation, or other alternative forms of transportation. Some public transportation systems offer discounted or even free service during the week.
- National Reuse Day (10/20): Finally, a day dedicated to creative repurposers like me! This is the day to think outside the box, and in fact invent new ways to reuse that box and other stuff you might otherwise throw away.
- America Recycles Day (11/15): A day to encourage and educate the public about the importance and best practices of recycling, with thousands of local events sponsored across the country.
- National Buy Nothing Day (11/29): Celebrated every year on the Friday after Thanksgiving (aka "Black Friday"), this day encourages folks to do anything other than shop, shop, shop.
- National Cut Your Energy Costs Day (1/10): Now there's a holiday every cheapskate loves! And the U.S. Department of Energy has tips for cutting your energy costs every other day of the year as well.
- Last but not least, when it comes to truly experiencing the great outdoors and all things au naturel, May 14 is World Naked Gardening Day (seriously- just Google it, if you dare to go bare). If you celebrate this day, though, I suggest you steer clear of the rose bushes.
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