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Mar 29, 2017 02:47PM

Earth Day 22 ways: Your guide to making the most of it

By Brandy Welvaert
Earth Day is on a Saturday this year — April 22 to be exact — so we put together a list of 22 great, healthy ways to celebrate. Let's dig right in!

1. Recycle right. Learn the rules of your local recycling program because recycling right makes a difference. Best place to start? Your city's website.

2. Remember Meatless Monday? It's still a thing! Green up your eco-footprint by skipping the animal-based protein once a week. Digitally thumb through past issues of Radish to find excellent veg-friendly recipes at radishmagazine.com.

3. Don't toss it – DIY it! Have an old piece of furniture? Give it new life with a coat of spray paint in a fun color. (Bonus points if you pick up your paint from the freebie Product Reuse area at the Scott Area Recycling Center in Davenport!) For details, visit wastecom.com.

4. Visit the farmers market. If you're like most folks, you probably don't go as often as you'd like. For Earth Day, load up the family, grab your canvas bags and head out. The Freight House Farmers' Market in Davenport is open indoors on Saturdays, year-round.

5. Speaking of reusable bags — how's that going for you? If you've fallen off the wagon, don't fret. Now's the time to recommit to purging your life of plastic bags (recycle them at grocery stores!) and going reusable. Tip: Keep the bags in your car.

6. Cook more, and cook better. Sign up for a cooking class at the Quad Cities Food Hub. Learn about soups and stews there on April 19, or family-style cooking on April 26. Classes are from 6 to 8 p.m., and cost $13 per person. Register online at qcfoodhub.com.

7. Daytrip to Decorah, Iowa. Visit the Heritage Farm at Seed Savers Exchange to shop for heirloom seeds and transplants. That's right: Seed Savers now sells baby plants you can plunk into the soil ASAP, which is good news for folks who think starting seeds is daunting.

8. Try yoga. It's hard to believe there's a single Radish reader out there who has yet to try yoga, but we know there are a few of you! This Earth Day, honor yourself by enrolling in a class. Don't know where to start? Flip through the pages of Radish to find a local studio listed in the advertisements.

9. Schedule your vacation days for 2017. Did you know there's a health movement dedicated to getting you to take vacation time, work less and live healthier as a byproduct? According to Project Time Off, people who plan are "more likely to use all of their time off, take more vacation days at once and report greater levels of happiness in every category measured. "

10. Do kombucha. It's not new, but kombucha really is worth a try if you've been holding out. The fizzy, fermented drink is free of corn syrup and packed with gut flora-enhancing goodies. You can always make your own, but the Hy-Vee HealthMarket and other area health stores carry a variety for around $3 a bottle.

11. Ditch your car for the day — or the whole weekend — and walk or bike, instead. Save money on gas, reduce emissions and traffic congestion, and enjoy the benefits of being outside while traveling at speed that allows you to take in your surroundings. Bonus: You'll be ready for National Bike to Work Week next month (which is May 15-19).

12. Get in touch with your wild side. Visit Niabi Zoo in Coal Valley for Earth Day activities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. See more than 900 animals living on 40 acres. (And feeding the giraffes always is a highlight!) For more information, visit niabizoo.com.

13. Listen up. The weekly installment of RiverWay Stories airs on WVIK – Quad Cities NPR (90.3 FM) at 8:34 a.m. every Saturday, including Earth Day. RiverWay Stories covers local, river-related topics, including environment, conservation, history and recreation.

14. Team up to clean up. Join the Figge Art Museum or Nahant Marsh in Davenport, to pick up litter and remove harmful invasive species on Earth Day. For details and registration, visit figge.org or nahantmarsh.org.

15. Go for a walk. The Quad-Cities and surrounding communities are rich with picturesque trails. Check out the Mississippi Connections Hiking Guide from RiverAction at riveraction.org/trails to learn more.

16. Get political. If speaking out is just your speed, then stand up! You can join the Earth Day Network and the March for Science for a rally and teach-in on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on April 22. Or, you can take advantage of Earth Day Network's online toolkits at home: earthday.org.

17. Relax and replenish. Sometimes the best way to honor the earth is to honor its inhabitants, starting with yourself. So book a massage, disconnect from social media for the day and focus your attention inward. Your body will thank you.

18. Plant a tree. A wise man once said, the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago — and the second-best time is now. Learn more about planting and request 10 free trees from the Arbor Day Foundation at arborday.org.

19. Read. Find a comfy spot in the sun or shade and dig into a great environmental read, such as Rachel Carson's movement-spurring "Silent Spring," or Henry David Thoreau's classic "Walden."

20. Gaze upon our "pale blue dot," as Carl Sagan famously referred to Earth, from the vantagepoint of outer space. It's both calming and humbling. Check out NASA's High Definition Earth Viewing stream at eol.jsc.nasa.gov/ESRS/HDEV/.

21. Connect with a CSA. Eat more local food, sans shopping, with a farm subscription known as a CSA. Find one near you at localharvest.org, and click "Find a local CSA."

22. Step outside. Even if you're too busy to indulge in much else this Earth Day, getting outside for a few minutes can improve your mood. So get out, look up and give thanks for this awesome place we call home.
Brandy Welvaert is a former editor of Radish and currently is communication coordinator for Waste Commission of Scott County and iLivehere.

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