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10 simple ways to help animals this Earth Day

Happy Earth Day! What are your plans for tomorrow? I would like to remember the animals this Earth Day, so that inspired me to put together this list of 10 simple things we can do tomorrow (and year-round!) to help our planet’s animals. Read on for my ideas, in addition to a special Earth Day Meditation:

1. Volunteer at your favorite animal shelter. Spending an afternoon with animals in need is a wonderful way to give back and boost your spirits at the same time.

2. Take your horse on a trail ride through the forest. Your horse will love the extra attention, and meanwhile you can take this quiet time to enjoy the beauty of the trees and nature around you.

3. Take your dog to the beach or to his favorite park. Some quality time outside with your best furry friend is a perfect way to bring some extra happiness to his day.

4. Find a special patch of sun for your cat. Even though your cat is probably an indoor cat, a safe enclosure such as this one will allow her to soak up some sun and fresh air, and find endless interesting things to look at.

5. Plant a tree. Trees are not just beautiful; a new tree also provides a new habitat for insects, birds and other creatures.

Celebrating Trees: A Special Earth Day Meditation

Find a big, strong healthy tree in your yard or local area that you can visit quietly, without being disturbed. Stand in the gassho meditation posture at the base of the tree (palms together at heart level). Dedicate all energy created from this meditation to all trees in gratitude for all they have given to our planet.

With your feet about shoulder’s width apart, stand close to the tree and place your hands lightly on the trunk. Breathe in and out, with your eyes open in soft focus. Allow your senses to open to all the sounds and smells around you. Imagine the roots of the tree beneath you. Feel the solidity and strength of the tree trunk beneath your hands. Smell the aroma of the tree. See the patterns of the bark and the design of the branches stretching up into the sky above you. Listen to the leaves as they blow in the breeze.

Breath 1: Imagine you can breathe in earth energy as healing light, up through the soles of your feet and into your heart. As you exhale, imagine your breath as a beautiful healing light flowing out your heart into the trunk of the tree, down into the tree’s roots and back into the earth. Repeat this breath for several minutes.

Redwood grove in north California.

Breath 2: Now as you exhale, imagine earth energy as a beautiful healing light flowing up through the roots of the tree into the trunk. As you inhale, imagine this light can flow from the tree into your heart and down your body through your feet and back into the earth. Continue this cycle for several minutes.

Contemplation: Allow your breath to return to normal. Feel yourself connecting to the energy of the tree, and even more than that, becoming one with it. How does it feel to be this tree? Imagine the energetic movement of life and growth that resides deep within the apparent stillness of the tree. If you were a tree, how would time be experienced? Weather? Seasons? How would you view your world and connection to others differently? If a tree could express gratitude, what might it look like?

Set your intent to finish and once again express your gratitude to the tree (and all trees) for their contribution to the planet.

6. Plant a butterfly garden. Certain types of flowers are more likely to attract butterflies, so take an hour this Earth Day to add some to your yard. Butterfly bush, fennel, oregano, sunflowers and penstemon are just a few great choices. Click here for 21 butterfly-friendly flower options. Offer butterflies a safe haven with a butterfly house, such as this one.

7. Buy your animal a sustainable toy. So many dog and cat toys these days are made of plastics and other less-than-desirable materials. Check out earth-friendly offerings from companies such as Honest Pet ProductsP.L.A.Y. and West Paw Design.

8. Create animal-friendly areas in your backyard. Birds love bird feeders, bird baths and hummingbird feeders. To help the insects in your yard, install a rock garden.

9. Adopt a wild animal online. The WWF, Defenders of Wildlife and The Marine Mammal Center are just three wonderful organizations offering species adoptions (you’re sure to find your favorites here!).

10. Eat greener and strive for “meat-free Mondays.” You don’t have to be a vegetarian to help animals (though it helps). Even a small step such as the Meat Free Monday movement, supported by celebs such as Sir Paul McCartney, helps inspire us to think greener and help our planet and our health by cutting meat from our diet one day each week.

How do you plan on celebrating Earth Day?

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