Earth Day even in this day

🌎 Happy Earth Day! 🌎

In case you didn’t know, this year is Earth Day’s 50th birthday, and I think that’s really something to celebrate. After all, 50 years ago today, we started on a journey that would save the bald eagle, bring back whale populations, pass the Clean Air Act, and reduce smog in many of our city centers. While you could argue the world is far from perfect, I would remind you we still have a lot of wins to celebrate.

Today, in the uncertainty that is life during the coronavirus, I think it’s even more important to remember that small collective actions of many people have given us a lot to be grateful for and preserve on the planet. After all, we still have song birds chirping, wolves prowling Yellowstone and manatees gliding in the ocean. This is just a small selection of the good we have accomplished when it comes to protecting our home planet.

Protection itself is something on all of our minds: how to protect our health, careers, family and community. Extending this to the wider Earth is still just as important now as it ever was, and I would venture to say it’s easier than ever to do post-COVID-19.

Some of you might be thinking I’m crazy or insensitive to suggest worrying about environmental problems at this time. I would counter with the fact that at no other time since the industrial revolution has the Earth been allowed to have a break from the collective actions of humanity and rebound. Skyline views are longer, water is cleaner, animals are more active and surroundings are quieter. Scientifically and ecologically, this has been an interesting thing to see. Socially and economically, it is not something that can be sustained. We all want to get back to living our lives in more than just our homes.

Notice I didn’t say get back to life as it was. I rejected that phrase for two reasons: First, I think we all realize “normal” might be a long way off or never. Second, some of the actions we were taking before this pandemic weren’t really actions we should rush back to even when we can.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, I want to suggest five COVID-19-induced actions you are probably taking that should continue even after the masks come off and the crowds start to gather.

🌎 Support local businesses. Many citizens, in a show of community strength, have supported local businesses more than they did before shelter in place. If this is you, consider keeping this habit. Spending your money at local establishments keeps money in your community, removes excessive air pollution from the atmosphere, employs your neighbors and builds relationships.

🌎 Lessen your food waste and eat what you have. With daily trips to the grocery store being cut out, people are learning to use what they have in the fridge. This keeps food waste out of landfills and money in your pocket. Think about it, if you’re using what you have instead of buying on a whim, you spend less money. Keeping food out of sanitary landfills is also important because it frees up space for your real trash, which food shouldn’t be if you can help it. (FYI, it’s a myth food decomposes in landfills. Nothing decomposes in landfills, or at least not at a rate that allows them to be used indefinitely.)

🌎 Drive less often and make shorter trips. All of this buying local and buying less means you aren’t driving as much. And honestly, do you actually miss the high gas prices and burning your money as you drive? Driving less emits less carbon dioxide (a main contributor to climate change), puts less stress on you as the driver, and gives you back time since you’re not sitting in traffic.

🌎 Get outside more. Three walks a day is my normal routine since I have no yard and two dogs. The biggest difference? Seeing people walking, jogging, running and biking who I didn’t even know lived in the area. When you’re able to go to indoor spaces that are different than your own four walls, don’t forget to continue your outdoor adventures. Getting outside, even if just for 10 minutes a day, lifts your mood. Combine this with movement of some kind and now you’re exercising!

🌎 Stay in touch with your loved ones. The amount of people I have been able to catch up with has increased dramatically since we were all forced to slow down and stay inside. Being able to talk with these people, whether through WhatsApp, Zoom, text or any of the other communication methods we now have, allowed me to deepen friendships and strengthen family ties. When life starts to get busy, don’t lose these people. They remind you why we’re fighting to save the Earth and each other.

What could just B more green?

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The article Earth Day Even in This Day was written by Elizabeth Schap and first appeared on just B more.

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