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5 Meaningful Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

Outside’s sustainability chief Kristin Hostetter has five green actions you can do that will make a difference.

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Doing right by the planet can make you happier, healthier, and—yes—wealthier. Outside’s Head of Sustainability, Kristin Hostetter, explores small lifestyle tweaks that can make a big impact. Write to her at

The interwebs are rife with ways to celebrate Earth Day: Plant a tree, walk to work, pick up trash, recycle. While all of these activities are great (and the latter two we should all be doing every day), I offer you five of the very best ways to celebrate. These are actions that might just ripple through the other 364 days of your year and become habits. They are things you can do—and then talk about with your family and community, so that they feel inspired to pick up the baton, and do them, too.

Earth Day is not just a day. It’s a movement and a call to action to do our part and change our culture to fight for the health of our precious planet before things really go south.

So put down your phones, log out of Facebook and Instagram, and do one or more (or all!) of these five meaningful things on Earth Day. Because your daily actions do matter and they’re just the beginning.

woman hugging tree in winter
The author, hugging a birch in Stowe, Vermont (Photo: Mirna Valerio)

Get Outside

Breathe the air. Listen to the noises. Hug a tree. Move your body. The very best action you can do for the planet on Earth Day is to just love being on it. Appreciate it. Commit to it. And don’t hoard it for yourself! Invite a non-outdoorsy friend along on your outing and talk about how getting outside nourishes you on the regular.

Eat Plants

No need to commit to a life of veganism (but more power to you if you can), but skip the meat today and incorporate more plants into your diet. It will be better for you and way better for the planet. The UN estimates that livestock accounts for 14.5 percent of all human-generated greenhouse gas emissions.

Don’t Buy Anything

We all buy too much stuff—shiny new products we want but don’t really need. These things emit carbon into the atmosphere through their raw materials, production, transport, all to end up in a landfill when we tire of them. Resist the urge to splurge this Earth Day. The de-influencing TikTok trend is largely focused on the health and beauty industry, but it applies to everything, and it’s beautiful. Ask yourself, do I really need this new hoodie, kitchen gadget, or daypack, or table lamp? Or is there still life left in my old one? If you must buy something, visit a secondhand store and go on a treasure hunt.

Donate Some Old Gear

Join the circular economy. That jacket you haven’t worn in three years? Those boots that never fit right? That pack you hang on to because it reminds you of your AT thru-hike? Make like Marie Kondo: Thank them for their service and let them go to someone else who can use them. We’ll even help!

We created our Gear Up Give Back program to keep good outdoor gear in circulation and help one of our favorite nonprofits, The Outdoorist Oath. Just box up your stuff, print out a free shipping label, and send it off to our consignment partner, Gear Fix. They’ll make minor repairs, resell it, and we’ll donate 100 percent of the proceeds to The Oath, who teaches people to take action for planet, inclusion, and adventure.

Skip the Shower

The average American shower lasts for eight minutes and uses 16 gallons of water. The EPA estimates that the U.S. uses more than one trillion gallons of water per year staying clean and fresh. For most of us, turning on the tap is as mindless as scratching an itch. But our great-grandchildren could very likely not have the same experience if we don’t start being more mindful of the water we use every day. Do you really need to shower every day? Do you mindlessly let the tap run while you brush your teeth or turn it off between rinses? If you did, you’d save about three and a half gallons of water with every brush.

Happy Earth Day from all of us at Outside!

Kristin Hostetter is the Head of Sustainability at Outside Interactive, Inc. and the resident sustainability columnist on Outside Online.