Today marks the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, a celebration of and the wide-scale activism for our beautiful blue planet. Started by Denis Hayes in the US, this day began as a movement to push for greater protection of the environment, and has been responsible for a lot of political action around the world.
Now that we are all living in a state of quarantine, this year’s celebration not only marks a milestone, but also a change in how we protect and support our planet. This year Earth Day is being celebrated around the world via the digital space, where we can come together as a collective like never before.
‘But what does this have to do with my health?‘ I hear you ask. It should be no surprise to you that how we go about our daily lives has an impact on the planet, but our environment also has a great impact on us too. Just take a moment to consider the amount of times the weather or how much clean outdoor space you had access to has effected your ability to be healthier. Or consider how the reduction of temperate climates are having a great impact on our abilities to produce healthy, fresh foods. Or even consider how just the mental image of a beautiful, natural area can bring a sense peace and calm in the worst of times.
We have a symbiotic relationship with the Earth, no matter how many people ignore it’s needs. Of course, a lot of the issues with the planet today comes from the ways in which large companies and some governments treat their property and waste. But we can also take charge on an individual, but collective effort, to support positive environmental change.
So… what are you doing for Earth Day? If you go to the official website linked to the top of the post you can find information on digital events that are organised by local, national, and international organisations. I would also recommend making more of an effort to spend some time in an outdoor space if this is possible for you. Of course we still have to remain socially responsible, but connecting with nature and spending time in the sun will help you stay healthy and sane during these stressful times (just at least 2 meters apart from the next person is all!).
Personally, Earth Day holds a special place in my heart, in part because it is shared with my birthday. Despite the god-awful hayfever most years, as a child I would enjoy Spring and Summer time in the hilly areas around my home, going on picnics or just hanging out with friends. Whenever I travel back to my homestead I often return to a particular spot on those hills, as a place of reflection on everything I have experienced since being there last.
Unfortunately I won’t be able to go back for today’s celebrations, however I will be making a point of spending a bit more time in my garden. There’s a lot you can still do within your immediate area to support the environment. Even if it just means picking up that bit of trash on your morning run, or making an outdoor space look a little nicer for your neighbours to enjoy.
Whatever it is you decide to do today, know that we are all in this together. There’s still hope for both ourselves in this pandemic, and the planet during this environmental crisis. We aren’t giving up just yet!