Is St. Patrick’s Day Lucky for the Environment?
Do you have plans for St. Patrick’s Day? If you’re like a lot of people, your answer is probably in the form of a question – what are my options?
I don’t think anyone knew that we’d still be waiting for 2020 to end – in March of 2021. But here we are with yet another St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner not knowing what it’s going to look like.
Traditional St. Patrick’s Day celebrations aren’t all that great for the environment. But this could be the year we start better habits as we see a glimmer of hope for returning to a relative normal.
If you’re looking for a unique way to celebrate while helping the environment, this is the article for you.
The Origin of St. Patrick’s Day
St. Patrick’s Day dates back to the 5th century.
The History channel’s website explains that St. Patrick was credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. We now celebrate the holiday on the anniversary of his death – March 17th.
The earliest celebrations of the holiday date back to the 17th century. But it gained popularity in the United States once nearly 1 million Irish immigrated to America during the Irish Potato Famine in 1845.
In the following years, Irish Americans battled stereotypes and racial injustice. St. Patrick’s Day parades in the United States became a way for Irish Americans to celebrate their heritage and ancestry. The largest one is held in New York City where nearly 3 million people line the parade route every year.
Today, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated around the world with traditional Irish food, parades, wearing green, and more.
Negative Impacts on the Environment
St. Patrick’s Day festivities aren’t necessarily lucky for the environment, though.
After all, Dyeing the Chicago river green to observe the holiday isn’t the “greenest” of ideas. They now use less than half of the dye originally used because of the environmental damage it caused.
Other traditions like hosting St. Patrick’s Day parties and going out to bars aren’t great for the environment either.
Think of all the festive, plastic decorations and single-use plastic plates, cups, and utensils. These items fly off the shelves before the big day. And just days later? All that plastic is filling up trash trucks… Or, clogging up city drainpipes because it was not disposed of properly.
What about the extra traffic on the street as people flock to bars looking for some green beer? That leads to extra air pollution.
There are ways to combat those negative impacts:
- Reuse decorations.
- Carpool or take public transportation.
- Refrain from using plastic, especially single-use items like disposable plates and cups.
This year, St. Patrick’s Day won’t look the same as it did way back in 2019. The fewer parties and traffic on the streets are a welcome break for our landfills and air quality.
But this year of quarantine didn’t help the environment like some originally thought it might a year ago.
COVID-19 has brought its own environmental troubles along with everything else it brought us.
Marie Hasty’s post, How to Effectively Implement a Green COVID-19 Recovery, discusses all the ways the last year has damaged our environment. Disposable, single-use masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) are already a big concern. They’ll be washing up on beaches for years.
Consider how much more online shopping we’re doing. All that extra packaging and transportation is adding to the damage we’ve been trying to control.
Offices with catered lunches are now getting individual lunch containers for each employee. Do we really need another source of extra packaging that will fill up trash cans even faster?
So, what can you do?
Luckily – pun intended – you can do more than just sit at home to lessen your negative impact on the environment. After all, you’ve been sitting at home for a whole year now!
This St. Patrick’s Day you can get out of the house, enjoy nature, and help the environment.
How to Make This St. Patrick’s Day a Lucky One
The best part is that you don’t have to leave your own neighborhood to help save the environment.
Pawnee Simons article, 7 Ways to Protect the Ocean – No Matter Where You Live – How To Save The Ocean From Pollution, discusses seven ways to easily make a difference. It’s often as simple as using a reusable water bottle.
If more people adopted simple green habits it would make a huge difference.
- Don’t use plastic straws or plastic grocery bags.
- Reuse plastic products that you do use.
- Keep a bag or box for recyclable items in your house.
Hmm… Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Sound familiar?
Like Simons mentions, every single small step in the right direction adds up.
Ocean Blue Project makes it easy to get even more involved.
Organize a socially distant beach or river cleanup, and we’ll help with the admin work like getting any necessary permits. This is the perfect way to get out of the house and actively help the environment. Get started today by contacting us for more information.
Ocean Blue Project is committed to removing one million pounds of plastic by the end of 2025. You can be a part of this mission by helping out in your own neighborhood.
Why Now Is the Perfect Time to Go Green
Getting out into nature and enjoying the outdoors is one of the best things you can do if you need a break from being stuck at home, like you have been for a very long time.
2020 was a year of stress and anxiety for many reasons.
Many of us gave in to that stress.
- Eating healthy and exercising didn’t come easily.
- We felt stuck inside with nowhere to go.
- We counted the days until quarantine would be over just to realize months in that there was no end in sight.
Now that we’re hopefully on our way back to a somewhat of a normally way of life, we can assess how we want to move forward. We can finally work on starting the upward trend of taking care of ourselves.
One amazing way to do that is by getting outside to enjoy nature. It might feel good to walk around the block in your city. But research shows that we get the most benefits from spending time in nature-rich environments. Both psychologically and physiologically.
That may be easier to do in some places than others. But even cities like Los Angeles have gardens, beaches, and hiking trails that allow you to be closer to a more natural environment.
After a year like 2020, we can use all the mental health help we can get!
Spending time in outdoors also reminds us how precious nature is and why we should do everything in our power to protect it.
It’s easy to pick up trash while you’re out on your hike, even if you can’t organize an official clean-up event. Remember, even little actions make a big difference. Imagine if every single person made sure to clean up after themselves and recycled!
While you’re at it, invite a friend or two who you haven’t seen in a while. That way you’re socializing safely and spreading awareness about easy things we can do to clean up our own backyard.
Appreciating everything nature has to offer is important. It makes you think twice before you decide not to recycle those soda cans. Who knows? You might be the push that one of your friends needs to make more eco-friendly choices.
- Spend some time outdoors.
- Do something positive for the environment.
- Safely spend time with friends.
You won’t only make an impact on the environment, but you’ll make an impact on your mental and physical health.
If you ask me, this sounds like a much better way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than feeling hungover from that green beer!
We’ve spent a year in quarantine. Now is the perfect time to do something positive for both the environment and yourself.
Join Ocean Blue Project’s Mission
Are you ready to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by going green this year?
There are countless ways you can make a difference. Stay informed about environmental news and ways to help year-round by subscribing to Ocean Blue Project’s newsletter.
You could be the reason St. Patrick’s Day is lucky for the environment this year.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day and stay safe!
Author Bio: Brittany Hunter is a copywriter living in Los Angeles. She loves reading, hiking, and watching Netflix with her puppy, Cali.