Fifty years ago today, Senator Gaylord Nelson of California initiated one of the most important environmental movements in history, Earth Day.
Every April 22nd, we set aside one day to reflect on how important Earth is to our lives. We come up with ways we can show our appreciation by taking part in beach clean ups, attending environmental fairs, making promises to be a better steward of the Earth and so on... for one day.
Why is there only one day dedicated to the only planet that can sustain life (ours and everything on its surface) and is the sole reason we wake every morning, eat, drink, move and breathe? Shouldn't every day be Earth Day? Shouldn't we rejoice daily and reflect on the importance of the ground beneath our feet, the sky above our heads and the oceans that meet the horizons?
We can all do anything for a single day - 24 short hours - that's easy. It's the longterm commitment that is the challenge and something we all need to think about going forward.
As we all struggle to get through this pandemic, we can only hope that it doesn't become a distant memory like most events in our lives, and we learn something from it. Earth needs our attention and as long as we ignore it and do what we've always done, it will continue to react or rebel in ways we can't imagine or predict.
So while you're pent up in your house or apartment wondering why popcorn ceilings were ever invented and binge watching Modern Family, take some time out of your busy day to think about what you're going to do when this is over.
Ask yourself how you are going to become part of the solution rather than part of the problem.
Are you going to minimize your use of single use plastic?
Are you going to be a better consumer and demand less packaging?
Are you going to plant native plants to help our pollinators?
Are you going to use public transportation whenever possible?
Are you going to consider trading in that gas guzzler for a hybrid or EV?
Are you going to become a citizen scientist (a.k.a. community scientist) and collect data for an organization doing research on animals, plants or climate change?
Are you going to volunteer for an environmental organization and participate in beach or community clean-ups, or support them one in other ways?
Are you going to Buy Local and stop supporting corporate agricultural farms that use pesticides and poison our food and harm our critical pollinators?
Are you going to compost your food scraps rather than throw them in the trash?
Are you going to reduce your consumption of red meat to help lessen your carbon footprint?
Are you going to vote for environmentally friendly policies?
Are you going to buy used clothing and stop supporting brands that cause pollution and harm the environment?
They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. We have all been sheltering in place much longer than that, so why don't we form new, healthy habits during this time away from work, friends and family and emerge a better version of ourselves?
Happy Earth Day, everyone. Now let's get busy....