Action Planet

It’s easy to be green this spring. From planting trees to catching an eco-themed juggling act, here are fun (and free) ways to celebrate Earth Day and help the planet throughout the month of April.
A watercolor image of the earth with stars surrounding it and a sun rising
Artwork by Tracy Tayama

It’s hard to imagine a time before the Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Water Act, or the Endangered Species Act, but it all started in 1970, when a U.S. senator declared April 22 to be Earth Day, ushering in a new age of environmentalism. Fifty-three years later, almost 200 other countries now also observe the holiday with clean-up parties, symposiums and eco-festivals. This is one cause we can all unite behind, because wherever we plan to go when we meet our maker, it’s Mother Nature who tucks us in every night while we’re here on Earth. Here are our picks for ways to get out and go green this spring.

Earth Day Climate Action Kickoff 

April 1 You may speak for the trees as well as the Lorax, but if you want to walk the talk, head out to Folsom Lake State Recreation Area for day one of the California State Parks Foundation’s 25th annual Earth Day Climate Action. Of the park system’s 68 million annual visitors, fewer than 7,000 chose to volunteer for this monthlong statewide effort last year—Folsom Lake SRA is one of 11 featured spots this April—so our green spaces could sure use more eco-warriors to lend a helping hand. Partners like REI and Target provide sustenance and supplies, while expert tree whisperers lead you in bolstering native oak habitats against climate change, including planting trees, running irrigation lines and clearing invasive species. 9 a.m.–1 p.m.

Cal Parks Earth Day Climate Action Volunteers standing beside bags of brush

At the California State Parks Foundation’s Earth Day Climate Action in 2021, participants cleared away brush at the Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park to help reduce the risk of wildfires. This year’s statewide project will begin at the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area. (Courtesy of California State Parks Foundation)

Climate Scientist Dr. Daniel Swain 

April 5 UC Davis alum and UCLA researcher Daniel Swain is a rock star in climatologist’s clothing, landing on Vice magazine’s “Humans of the Year” list in 2020 for sounding the alarm on California’s extreme weather on his Twitter feed and blog, where he translates hard science into news you can use while you gather your animals two by two. During January’s bomb cyclone cycle that gave us an epic soaking, Swain tweeted that it was still “nowhere near the severity” we’re likely to see in what scientists have branded an “ARkStorm” scenario—as in, we’re gonna need a bigger boat. Catch Swain at the UC Davis Student Community Center in April, where he’ll appear as part of the school’s Institute of the Environment’s lecture series. 4–5:30 p.m.

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