Every year, we celebrate Earth Day on April 22. This is a day for the earth: for cleaning, remembering, and planning to ensure a positive future for nature. During past Earth Days, events such as river cleanings and the clearing of invasive species has often taken the mainstage in drawing communities together. This year, the holiday is going digital. Lectures have been going on online for a few days now (EarthDay.Org started on the 20th), while today’s grand event coincides with the latest climate summit between world leaders.
The focus this year: “Restore Our Earth“
Be sure to check out my new shop! Featuring succulents home-grown in Palos Verdes (and you can see their journey on this site).
I wrote about the state of the climate in LA and around the world towards the end of winter. While researching it, the numbers and figures impressed upon me how much our actions directly impact the environment. We couldn’t drive, and so many of those scary numbers dropped. Industry was largely on pause, and the air cleared up. Even out here, our largest cause for concern was the forest fires, and not the usual add-ons of the many highways and multiple shipping ports. The earth had a bit of time to rest and heal. Today’s a good day to remember that, whether or not you believe we influence the climate, we do at least control the cleanliness of the land around us.
A bit of history
Earth Day was started back in 1970. Protesting toxic drinking water, poor air quality (and acid rain), and pesticides, tens of millions of Americans took to the outdoors. Their clamor was heard, starting both the Earth Day holiday and the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA went on to help implement the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and Endangered Species Act. This year marks the 51st Earth Day, and hopefully many more to come.
Here are 10 ways you can celebrate Earth Day today (and every day!)
- Take a walk outside! I know we’ve been stuck inside quite a bit lately, but there’s still a real world out there. If you haven’t been outdoors in a while, this is the perfect time to reconnect with nature at large; Spring is in the air and the plants are thriving. Try to learn the name of a plant and a bit about how it grows and lives, so you can use it to monitor the environment around.
- If you find your eyes catching on litter instead of plants, this is a great time to help nature out by picking up some of that litter! Even if it wasn’t you who put it there, you can be the person who proudly says, “I took care of it“. These little bits of plastic and metal end up passing further and further into the ecosystem if they’re not taken care of early. Here in LA, many of the drains on the street are marked with reminders that they flow to the ocean. Wherever you are now, that litter may run into a river or fly on the wind to get stuck in some tree, and largely be out of our control. We can stop it from ever getting there by taking care of it here.
- Sit and observe nature, be mindful of it. This is one of my favorite ways to reconnect with the earth, and often is one of the simplest. All you have to do is find a comfortable spot, sit down on that spot, and then take in all the nature around you. The way the leaves rustle in the wind, the calls of the birds and other critters, even the way the air warms with the smell of different flowers as they open and the wind blows. Spring is a wonderful time to observe nature, though every time of year is also a good time.
- Conserve water. Conserving water ties into many other aspects of ensuring our earth’s future: we share this water with everything else in the ecosystem. If we use less, they’ll have more. If we put less waste in the water, we’ll all have cleaner water to drink.
- Plant a tree. An instant classic! Trees are an all-around great investment of time and energy; a little work now to get the seed going, then a few hundred years of good green growth. The more carbon a plant takes in, the larger it grows. Trees such as Ginkgo are also good for packing away other components of poor air, such as sulfur. And for areas prone to erosion (such as down the hill from me…), trees really tie the place together.
- Plant flowering plants that attract and support pollinators. Between a long history of pesticides, environmental changes, various toxins and waste spill-offs, and even giant hornets, the bees are having a hard time of things. In places where seasons are shifting and plants are blooming at the wrong time, hummingbirds and butterflies might show up a little out of sync with when their food will be available. Help them out by making sure their pantry is stocked! Side benefit – there’s no cost to refrigerate any of their food.
- Cut down on pesticides and harmful chemicals in your garden. This not only gives those pollinators and helpful bugs a change to live their lives, it also keeps those pesticides from going into the food and herbs you may be eating. Much of your current plant-food pantry can be replaced with organic substitutes. Companion planting can be a wonderful way to reduce potential harmful insects. And, of course, compost what you can’t use!
- Plan your next change toward renewables. Some of the easiest and most impactful ways are ones that don’t dramatically change life; reusing shopping bags or switching to reusable (non-plastic) bags, replacing an old bulb with an LED version, even switching to recycled aluminum foil. Even better, these changes can have immeasurable effects up and down the line. If plastic water bottles no longer become commonplace, there will likely be less plastic bottles produced in the first place – and more of those handle little fill stations.
- Take part in Earthday.Org‘s events. They actually started this year’s earth day a couple of days ago (on the 20th), but today is the main event. A stream is getting ready to start on their main page at high noon, eastern standard time. The theme this year is #RestoreOurEarth. Yesterday, they hosted “Teach for the planet,” and on the 20th they had a double feature, “We shall breathe,” and, “Global youth summit.” The videos are available on the linked page.
- Check in on today’s climate summit. Plans are flying through the air today on how to cut emissions across the world. The EU is getting ready to be emissions-neutral by 2050. Biden is pledging to cut U.S. emissions by more than 50% in the next decade. “By maintaining those investments and putting these people to work, the United States sets out on the road to cut greenhouse gases in half — in half — by the end of this decade. That’s where we’re headed as a nation,” said Biden. I’m also hoping the amount we’ll put away will take care of the rest!
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you had a pleasant time checking out the plants. If you’re in the mood for more nature, take a gander at my other spots for media: