- by Cindy
By Hannah Kaiser
Today marks the 50th celebration of Earth Day. Usually, this means crowds of people rallying for better environmental protection laws, groups volunteering to tend to our planet, and masses out enjoying natural parks, trials, and beaches. Yet, with countries shut down and a global pandemic raging on, this year we are fighting not only for environmental health, but the health of humanity. Yet, now more than ever, it’s important to reflect on our ecological impact. Protecting the Earth is still a vital concern for the preservation of our future. There will be an end to this pandemic, and when it comes, our planet will still be here.
While we may not have the opportunity to gather together, Earth Day is not cancelled. Here are five ways you can celebrate the Earth while social distancing.
Used to volunteering or joining campaigns on Earth Day? That doesn’t have to end! There are still plenty of opportunities to volunteer your time for our planet, even if they aren’t to be done in large groups. Sign up for Earth Day Network’s volunteer list and receive emails on how you can take action wherever you are. (https://www.earthday.org/actions/volunteer/) Or, join an online protest and mobilize for change. And don’t forget to share what you’re doing to help the Earth under the hashtags #EarthDay2020 and #EARTHRISE to promote taking action.
Take the time to learn some more about our Earth and how we can best protect it. Due to the COVID crisis, many events have turned digital this year. Because of this, there are hundreds of Webinars on various topics you can attend while at home. Seattle University’s Earth Talks provides a broad range of topics from Environmental and Health Justice to Sports and Sustainability. (https://www.seattleu.edu/cejs/events/earthmonth/earth-talks/) Earth Day Live is a three-day, live stream featuring activists, musicians, and celebrities. Each day focuses on a different theme: Strike, Divest, and Vote. (https://www.earthdaylive2020.org/) For more online events and Webinars, check out Earth Day Network’s list of registered events (https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2020/#map)
Amid all of the digital activities, don’t forget to go outside and enjoy what the Earth has to offer. Find those spots of green wherever you are, and take advantage of the fresh air. Being out in nature is good for your physical and mental health, and can even offer you safe distances to connect with others. What better way is there to celebrate our planet then to be among its trees?
Get the whole family involved
Take this day to teach your kids about the meaning and importance of Earth Day. You can incorporate some fun activities the whole family will enjoy. Find a regional list of native plants and go on a nature scavenger hunt. Collect fallen leaves, flowers, and other things you find outside to create a nature collage. Or, go out as a family to find and pick up litter in you neighborhoods.
Make changes in your own life
Struggling to fill that extra free time at home? This could be the perfect opportunity to make some ecofriendly changes in your household. You could learn how to compost to add extra nutrition to your garden. And if you don’t have a garden, try starting one now! Instead of binging on Netflix and other streaming services, an activity that actually expands your carbon footprint, dust off one of those books on your shelves you’ve never gotten to. If you’re itching to shop, why don’t you support green businesses? Find products that you can continue to use even after the pandemic subsides, like the reusable water bottles or produce bags from Purifyou. (https://www.purifyou.com/products/purifyou-raw-organic-unbleached-cotton-reusable-mesh-produce-bags-with-tare-weight-tags-set-of-9-see-through-for-grocery-shopping-fruits-veggies-and-snack-bags-large-medium-small) This time of social distancing can be utilized to reassess current habits and cultivate new ones that are healthier for our planet.
The pandemic has brought a halt to so many things. And while we can’t be celebrating Earth Day in gatherings and groups, we can each still exercise our responsibility to our planet while following social distancing. So go out there and hug a tree, instead of a friend, and make some steps towards a better, healthier Earth.