Earth Day – How you Can Be More Earth Friendly When Traveling

How Tos & Tips

If you’re an avid RV camper — or even just an aspiring one — chances are this big, beautiful, green-blue planet of ours has inspired some awe in you. A respect for and fascination with our most essential home is one of the main motivating factors to get out there and go experience it firsthand.  Which is exactly why we’re so excited to celebrate Earth Day: it’s the perfect opportunity to set aside the time and energy to give our planet the love and care it deserves.

Although being green and finding a sustainable lifestyle is always important, Earth Day is a great time to hit the reset button and take up some new habits that can create a greener world much more easily than we might realize. Even small actions can really add up over time, especially if we all do our part in taking them on!

In this post, we’ll delve into some quick Earth Day facts before laying out some simple ways to make your next RV trip more eco-friendly — using tips, tricks, and hacks that can easily be implemented in your day-to-day life at home, too.

So come on, what are you waiting for? Mother Earth needs you. And it’s her day, after all!

Earth Day Facts

Before we get to the best ways to implement sustainable tourism ideals during your next RV trip, let’s take a quick step back. What, exactly, does this holiday celebrate in the first place, and where does it come from? Here’s some quick Earth Day information.

people tubing in a river

What is Earth Day?

Earth Day is an annual holiday observed on April 22, which was first invented and put into practice back in 1970 by John McConnell, a peace activist and environmentalist. It’s grown from its modest inception into a multinational movement, with more than 193 countries participating and hosting dedicated Earth Day events.

Earth Day has also been used for political purposes, serving as the signing date of the 2016 Paris Agreement and working as a reminder and symbol to promote green initiatives worldwide. Various communities celebrate Earth Day with a wide range of activities and celebrations, some of which may stretch for a week or longer.

When is Earth Day?

Earth Day is observed on April 22 of each calendar year.

Where can I learn more?

Whether you’re looking for Earth Day facts for kids or just to learn more for yourself, head to the official Earth Day Network for all the best Earth Day resources on the web, including campaigns, actionable initiatives, and in-depth educational guides.

Be an Earth Day Advocate

We all have the power to make a difference! There are countless ways to be an advocate for the planet. 

  • Learn. Knowledge is power! Take time to learn about Earth Day (hey, you’re doing that by reading this article!) and why it matters. Learn about earth sciences and ways you can reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Share. It doesn’t matter how many friends or followers you have, whether in life or on social media. We all have a voice, and that is important to remember. So let’s use our voices to spread the tips you see throughout this article or even just facts about Earth Day!
  • Do. Put into practice what you learn! Remember, no one is perfect, so don’t undue pressure on yourself! But we can all make little adjustments that add up to a big impact. Encourage yourself and others along the way!

Sustainable Tourism

Those who most love and respect the Earth are often those who most want to see as much of it as possible, which makes for an unfortunate conundrum. After all, in order to get anywhere on this planet at speed, you have to burn fuels that create carbon emissions and other impacts that can harm the exact same landscapes you’re trying to experience. It’s a bit of a catch-22!

But there are plenty of ways to minimize and offset your carbon footprint without giving up your wanderlust entirely. And no, you don’t have to forego a motor vehicle and cross the country on bicycle to do it… although if you want to (and can), our hats off to you!

Seemingly simple acts, like visiting wildlife refuges and other organizations areas that use visitor fees to sustain their conservation efforts, can make you into a steward for the planet, even if only in a small way. Plus, if you’re traveling with children, showing them the majesty of the planet and its denizens is a great way to inspire the passion they’ll need to continue conservation efforts going forward — which is exactly why we love the National Park Service’s Junior Ranger program so much. It really gets kids fired up to do their part for Mother Earth!

As awareness for our planet’s needs grows, more and more companies in the tourism industry are offering eco-friendly tours and sustainable tourism packages that can help you see the world while stepping lightly on its surface. And as RVers, we have a ton of opportunities to customize our trips to make them as eco-friendly as possible! Sure, you’ll be burning up some gas or diesel, but you can also create a low-waste kitchen, find creative ways to save and reuse water, and more.

an RV on a desert road

Earth-Friendly Travel for RVers

Traveling by RV? Yes, you’re driving a gas guzzler… but you can offset your emissions in many other ways. Here are just a few.

1. Keep it clean.

This should go without saying, but when you’re camping (or doing anything else, really), if you bring it in, bring it out — and that means everything, including garbage. 

Even at developed campsites, leaving trash on the ground is not an environmentally friendly move. That candy wrapper or wad of gum won’t disintegrate for eons, and its plastics can end up being tracked into our water system. So do us all a favor and throw things away where they belong: in the trash can!

2. Don’t create new fire pits.

Gathering around the campfire is one of the most enjoyable parts of any camping trip — and don’t worry, you can totally have your s’mores! Just be sure you keep your flame contained in a pre-existing fire pit. Every time you create a new one, you’re ruining the plant and insect life on that piece of ground… and besides, there are already plenty of designated fire areas for everyone!

Eco-Friendly Travel Tips

Here are some more green travel tips to make your next trip even more environmentally responsible.

3. Ride your bike or go on foot when possible.

Even if you’ve got a toad or you’re in a travel trailer, take advantage of the great outdoors by going to your next off-site destination on foot or by bicycle. It’s a pretty great deal for both you and nature. For one thing, you’ll get some exercise and fresh air — but that’s not even the best part.

Using less gas shrinks your carbon footprint… and your total travel budget. Win-win!

4. Don’t buy bottled water.

If you’re hooked up to city water, using a potable water hose, and have squeaky-clean tanks, there’s no reason to buy the bottled water that’s rapidly plastic-ifying our oceans. A reusable water bottle should be high on your list of eco-friendly travel essentials and gear — and it’ll also save you money and in many cases keep your drink cold longer.

If you do need to use prepackaged water, try to buy larger containers, like gallons, to set in the fridge and refill your reusable canteen from there. It’s not as good as avoiding plastic entirely, but it’s still better than the smaller bottles that accumulate as plastic waste so quickly.

5. Make your own meals — and don’t waste food.

Did you know that we throw away more than 150,000 tons of food in America… every single day?

That is an absolutely ludicrous and shameful waste, and not just because there are so many hungry people in other countries who would love to have it. Every handful of almonds or pound of ground beef represents a huge investment of water and energy, and that’s before you even consider having it transported from its place of origin to its eventual spot on your table. So if you’re RVing, take advantage of your mobile kitchen by making your own delicious meals on the road… and be sure not to throw any of those leftovers away!

Want to go a step further? Repurpose and reuse those food packages instead of tossing them, and follow these steps to minimize waste overall both at home and on the road. Not only will it make you a better planetary steward, but it’ll also significantly increase your RV boondocking game!

6. Get serious about saving water.

Water is doubtless our most precious resource, and that’s doubly true for off-grid RV campers. Boondockers quickly learn exactly how important it is to preserve their water supply, since having to refill means an end to the woodsy fun and a trip back to civilization.

Fortunately, there are plenty of water-saving hacks you can use to improve your water efficiency — which, again, are critical for maximizing your boondocking time, but can easily be implemented in your day-to-day life as well. Just because water seems like an endless resource when it’s flowing out of your tap doesn’t mean it actually is, so use these steps to ensure we never come to a day when you turn the tap on and get a whole lot of nothin’!

7. Get out there!

There’s nothing like experiencing the wonder of Earth first hand to increase your respect and understanding of its importance, even if it’s just a quick weekend getaway. From the sandy beaches of our shores to the towering mountains in the rocky west, there’s so much to take in… and that’s before you even consider going outside of our borders!

So celebrate Earth Day the very best way possible: by grabbing the ones you love most, piling into the RV, and taking a trip. Throw in a hiking or kayaking excursion for bonus points, and boom: a celebration that’s also a vacation. Win win!

a woman looking out over a meadow and river

Earth Day Activities

Can’t get away from it all to take a trip this Earth Day? That doesn’t mean you can’t set aside time to celebrate! There are plenty of Earth Day projects, games, and ideas for those stuck at work or even just hanging out at home with the family.

For example, you could gather the kids around the dinner table and talk about their favorite places, flowers, and animals, before explaining the importance of green initiatives to keep those places healthy and thriving for future generations. Then, create a list of easy habits to take on that can help achieve those goals — things like flicking off the lights every time you leave the room or turning off the tap while you’re brushing your teeth. It hits a whole lot closer to home when kids understand that their everyday actions affect broader populations…  and to be honest, that insight actually goes for mom and dad, too.

Or you could start a fun movement at work to incentivize green habits, like biking instead of driving. Maybe whichever employee bikes to work every day of Earth Day week could earn an extra day of PTO, for example. (Or, if you’re not in a position to make those kinds of policies, you could just start a friendly competition amongst your colleagues.)

Indoor Earth Day Activities

One of the best ways to celebrate Earth Day is to of course go out and spend time in nature! But that’s not always a possibility between rainy days to not feeling well to whatever your circumstances might be. That’s doesn’t mean we can’t take some time each April 22 to celebrate our Earth! Here are some great indoor activities to celebrate Earth Day.

Virtually Visit National Parks

Did you know you can visit beautiful National Parks without leaving the couch? Parks like Yellowstone National Park have their own tours where you can explore different parts of the park and learn about the park’s history. You can also explore different parts of the world through Google Earth and five incredible tours from Google Arts and Culture:

Start an Herb Garden

We have shared loads of tips for starting your own garden, and luckily, this is something easy you can do inside! And what better time to start than on Earth Day! Growing your own herbs has many benefits. For starters, they’re fresh and a cost-saver, but it’s also really great for Mother Earth. Growing your own herbs – or growing your own food in general – is a great sustainable solution. As we said above, there is a lot of waste that goes into mass harvesting of food, as well as packaging and transportation to get it from the farm to your kitchen. So get some seeds, or even full starter plants, and give your own herb garden a try! Not sure where to start? Check out our full post on growing your own herb garden as well as gardening for RVs (and other small spaces).

Have a Technology Break

This Earth Day, celebrate by getting out and experiencing our earth in all its many stunning forms: oceans, beaches, mountains, trees, caves and canyons… the wide world awaits. (Psst: need help picking from all those options? Here are some of our favorite spots for spring break getaways and some amazing summer travel destinations.)

Take some time on Earth Day to unplug – literally! Turn off the lights, limit your use of technology. We don’t even think about how these seemingly small acts make such an impact on our planet, but taking a break from our devices and electricity usage saves energy and helps to reduce carbon emissions as well as other harmful greenhouse gases. So carve out some time to grab a book and open up the window to hear the rainfall or birds chirping (maybe even take some time to birdwatch). Enjoy some peace and quiet!

No matter how or where you celebrate it, happy Earth Day! This planet of our sure does do a lot for us; it’s important to take the time to give it the recognition it deserves.