By Melissa Muth, Career Advancement Program Assistant

As stated by Wendell Berry, “The Earth is what we all have in common.” Here at the CCI Greenheart Career Advancement Program we unite citizens of the Earth through cultural exchange and professional development, all while promoting volunteerism and environmental sustainability. In honor of Earth Day’s 45th anniversary on April 22nd (and Greenheart’s 30th anniversary) we’ve decided to pull together some “green” volunteer opportunities that we thought you might like to delve into as you take part in the celebration of our Earth:

Organize a tree planting party in your neighborhood!

Perhaps your neighborhood is in need of some greenery. Organize your neighborhood pals for a collaborative tree planting effort. Perhaps bring some music and ask everyone to bring an edible contribution to share!

Donate all your used goods!

We all have clothes, books, blankets, pots etc. sitting around just waiting to be used. Sometimes we go on cleaning rampages and decide to just throw all that stuff out, but why not donate it for reuse instead? Companies like Goodwill, Salvation Army, and AMVETS take in used clothing, offering affordable and/or free options to families and individuals in-need. For more info on how you can help your fellow community members AND the environment visit: donationdropoff.org.

Host a goods exchange!

Take the concepts of donating and reusing a step further by inviting all of your friends over for a goods exchange! Simply ask all of your friends to gather up some of the goods they no longer use and invite them over for a small gathering so that they can exchange their “old” items for “new” ones, all while enjoying some hors d’oeuvres and good company. Any leftover items can simply be donated to your favorite local charity!

Participate in a beach or park clean-up project!

One of the simplest ways you can celebrate Earth day is by cleaning up garbage on a local waterfront or park. These are sites meant to be embraced for their natural beauty, and you can be a part of the effort to maintain them. Visit the website of your local park district or forest preserve to learn more about the clean-up activities happening in your area!

Garden!

Something that’s so often overlooked- especially in cities- is gardening! We often think we lack both the time and space to plant our own flowers, fruits and vegetables, but gardening doesn’t have to be as tough as it looks. With a bit of time and patience, you can transform your empty patio or yard into an aesthetically appealing green space that brings you nutritious greens while simultaneously reducing pollution and overall environmental impact.

Which green initiatives will you participate in this Earth Day? Are you currently working with any “green” organizations? If so, please email mmuth(AT)ccigreenheart(DOT)org. You might even be featured on our blog!