For the last 50 years, April 23 has marked a celebration of life–Earth Day. Fifty years is a momentous occasion on its own, but as we celebrate this particular Earth Day from the safety of our homes, if we can, it’s an excellent opportunity to get back to the core of this day.
Earth Day was started in the U.S. by Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin. After witnessing the devastating effects of the massive oil spill of 1969 in Santa Barbara, California, he was inspired to organize a nationwide campus teach-in on college campuses, focusing on environmental issues such as clean air and water.
Since its inception in 1970, Earth Day has had real and tangible results, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of many laws, including the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Education Act, and the Clean Air Act. It has been adopted by the UN and now focuses on climate change as well.
As we all sit at home during this difficult time, it’s inspiring to look back at the actions of the past–teach-ins, marches, and rallies. Gathering together to fight for our planet and celebrate our natural world is central to the mission of Earth Day. But as we all isolate, that doesn’t mean that we can’t do something to celebrate and revere the planet on Earth Day.
Breathe deeply–merely going outside and enjoying nature embodies the spirit of Earth Day. Give thanks for the bounty that our planet gives us–water, food, air, and sunlight that feeds our souls. Take a break and soak up some Vitamin D while counting the things you’re grateful for.
Plant something–Rainforest destruction increases every year as demand for pasture and agricultural land increases. In addition to donating to rainforest conservation causes, fight back by planting something in your home or garden. Whether it’s a simple houseplant or a sapling that will grow to shade your home for years to come, every plant makes a difference in our air quality.
Encourage your friends and family–the most meaningful way to fight for the environment is to vote for representation that feels as strongly about clean air and water, and slowing climate change as you do. Do your research and share it with others.
Be A Citizen Scientist–Download the Earth Challenge 2020 to be a part of the change. This app allows you to gather scientific data about air quality and plastic pollution in the areas nearest to you. With the efforts of millions, scientists will have the data they need to do meaningful work.
Take a walk–Get out of the house and see what we are fighting for! Take appropriate precautions and maintain social distance, but getting out in nature is a crucial way to strengthen your resolve to protect the planet.
Donate to the cause–many organizations are working to protect the planet. Find one that aligns with your convictions and contribute. A few we like are Coastkeepers.org, Surfrider.org, and Friends of the Desert Mountains.
Earth Day isn’t just about the environment; it’s about all of us fighting to protect our homes and well being. Let’s make tomorrow count no matter where we are.