Surrounded by the uncertainty of coronavirus, it’s nice to find the silver linings. One thing we can count on this year is that Earth Day will hit a major milestone. Turning 50, the golden anniversary of this holiday faces a different type of celebration. As events turn virtual, and families focus on paying homage to the environment from home, Earth Day takes on a new meaning.
Families are spending more time with each other than ever before. Large events and gatherings are being traded in for family walks and slower, closer looks at the world around us. Families are planting gardens and getting yard projects done in an effort to find activities that everyone can do. Individuals are returning to nature as a refuge, leaving behind screens and the demands of working remotely to breathe a little fresh air and relax. The tenets of Earth Day are celebrated in all of these acts.
This extra time in nature can have a lasting impact on how people interact with the environment. According to Science Daily, “those who make weekly nature visits, or feel connected to nature, are also more likely to behave in ways which promote environmental health…” Family time outside is helping foster positive attitudes toward the environment.
Earth Day — family-sized
One of Earth Day’s primary missions is inspiring conservation. We can make small changes in our own home that support our planet – think local, act global, right?
This year for Earth Day, use the extra time together to focus on changes like:
- Making sure you understand your city’s recycling laws. Separate trash appropriately so that what you send out to get recycled doesn’t get rejected.
- Reminding family to turn off lights to conserve electricity.
- Asking those family members who take long showers to aim for as close to five minutes as possible.
- Considering going eco-friendly and energy-efficient by replacing old appliances with energy star ones.
- Swapping out old light bulbs for CFLs.
These changes can feel small, but over time they add up and help you contribute to a cleaner environment. They also help shift your mindset to think about conservation all year round.
Make temporary positive change, permanent.
Going back to “normal” shouldn’t mean you forget about your environment. After 50 years of working to make the world a better place, Earth Day should inspire you to think about how you’ll help over the next half century. Though the positive environmental changes we’re seeing as a result of global shelter-in-place are temporary, it reminds us of what’s possible. Notoriously high-pollution cities all over the world have experienced historically low smog levels thanks to drastically fewer commutes. These changes to our daily routines can be seen as not an inconvenience, but instead an opportunity for small yet impactful changes. Institute a family walk or hike once a week even after we return to our regular lives. Next time you see trash in the road, pick it up. Instead of driving to the store around the corner, consider riding a bike. There are so many possibilities that allow you to let in a little Earth Day to the everyday.
*”Carbon emissions from fossil fuels could fall by 2.5bn tonnes in 2020” The Guardian
**”Coronavirus: LA’s air, usually terrible, is best in the world” The Mercury News
***”These 8 maps show the massive drop in smog caused by the coronavirus” Fast Company