Earth Day on the Riviera MayaOnce again, it is time to celebrate Earth Day, a special day set-aside for all of us to appreciate the beauty of the world around us and work toward protecting it for future generations. The first Earth Day was organized in the United States on April 22, 1970 as a nationwide demonstration, urging local and federal government officials to put important environmental issues on the agenda. Much to the surprise of the powers-that-be, over 20 million students, environmental activists, business leaders and impassioned citizens participated in the first Earth Day. An environmental revolution had officially begun.

Earth Day has been celebrated every year since 1970, and 42 years later, its purpose remains the same: to encourage social and political action by drawing attention to the cause. Every year, around the world, the critical state of the environment comes to the forefront of everyone's agenda, and billions of people step up to do their part, if only for a day.

Here in Mexico, we also celebrate Earth Day and here are 10 great ways you can commemorate Earth Day 2012 on the Riviera Maya.

1. Go for a bike ride. Every Sunday, the Municipality closes the Arco Vial from 307 near Centro Maya all the way to Juarez. The lanes are open only to bike traffic and hundreds of families and bike enthusiasts turn up every weekend to enjoy the exercise and fresh air.

2. Plant a tree. Planting trees, bushes or any plant life not only beautifies your living spaces, it also cleans some of the CO2 out the air we breath replacing it with essential oxygen. Not all of us have the place to plant a tree but I think we all have room for a potted plant or two. Maybe this is the time to start some tomato plants on your patio or set out a selection of potted herbs on your windowsill!

3. Make a bird feeder with your kids. Here is a great design for an easy DIY bird feeder made out of cheap household and recycled items!

Celebrate Earth Day4. Visit a local recycling center. Parque la Ceiba has a wonderful interactive recycling area where children and adults alike can learn how to reduce-reuse-recycle. They also have small plant nursery, a cafe and recreational areas for all ages.

5. Clean up the beach. If you can find an organized beach-cleaning event, great! If not, take plastic bag to the beach and do your part to clean up what has been washed ashore or left behind by less earth-conscious visitors.

6. Start a compost bin. Composting turns kitchen and garden scraps into nutrient rich soil, perfect for your garden or potted plants. Composting also keeps useful, organic waste out of our dumps. You don't need a fancy expensive set-up to start a compost bin and it can be done easily in a small yard or even on a patio or terrace!

7. Turn off the AC. It's hot here, almost year round. Whether you are staying in a hotel or renting a condo in Playa del Carmen it is tempting to leave on the AC when you leave...especially if you are not paying extra for it. Take the time to turn off all lights, fans and air-conditioning units every time you leave to go out.

8. Prepare an Earth Day meal. Fresh, non-processed foods taste so much better and they certainly are better for you! Spend some time at DAC or in the produce section of any major grocery store and see what inspiration you can find from the all the fresh veggies and fruits available. Here is a favorite recipe of ours to inspire you!

Celebrate Earth Day

9. Buy a Reusable shopping bag. DAC offers plastic mesh shopping bags in various sizes and every color of the rainbow. These are great as they are waterproof and can do double duty as beach bags. If you are looking for a more fashionable alternative, all the best-dressed ladies in Playa carry these gorgeous WearEarth bags from Tote le Monde.

10. Attend an Earth Day event. This year, there are several Earth Day celebrations being held in Playa del Carmen and Tulum. Check out our Riviera Maya Events Calendar for Earth Day events going on in the area. You might also be interested in the Mimi Kiteboarding World Tour being held at Mamitas Beach or the Oaxacan Fair set up in the Municipal Plaza 28 Julio.

Whether you can dedicate 5 minutes, 5 hours or a lifetime, there is something we can all do to help preserve and protect the Riviera Maya. What are your favorite ways to celebrate Earth Day?