Amidst this pandemic, over 200,000 people have died worldwide, and the death toll continues to rise.
Something that we can’t even see with our own eyes is causing mayhem across the globe.
Mother Nature seems mad.
We can’t say for sure that this is punishment for our sins, but we do know what the planet needs to stop its anger.
This starts with acknowledging something that no one’s really discussing right now.
The 50th anniversary of Earth Day was this past Wednesday, April 22. The first Earth Day was on April 20, 1970. Signs of environmental destruction had become obvious and tangible. Rivers like the Cuyahoga were so polluted that they actually caught fire, DDT was threatening to destroy a great swath of bird life, toxic pollutants were causing horrible diseases, chemicals called CFCs were destroying the ozone layer. The EPA was created to address these issues.
For a while, new acts of legislation actually combatted some of those environmental issues, but now we humans are back to being blasé about our destructive practices. Increasing deforestation, illegally trading animals, poaching, excessively using fossil fuels, and being wasteful are rapidly worsening the effects of climate change.
Somehow, some are still in denial about this phenomenon or don’t believe it’s our moral duty to help protect our planet.
Earth never asked to be taken advantage of. She has always been our mother: kind, loving, and protective of her reckless children. Like all mothers, Earth expects us to clean up after ourselves. Therefore, it’s our responsibility to reverse any harm that we’ve caused to the planet. An easy first step is no longer acting as bystanders to the excessive destruction we’re causing.
While we’re home during this pandemic, we have plenty of time to reflect on our actions. Hopefully, you celebrated Earth Day with your families. If you didn’t, celebrate it this week — and next week, and the week after. Caring about the earth should not be restricted to one day a year.
Our celebration should first start with an acknowledgement that we as humans do have an impact on our planet and influence some of its outcomes. COVID-19 has forced cities to lockdown, industries to halt, and families to shelter in place. NASA revealed that the decrease in human activity has reduced levels of atmospheric nitrogen dioxide over China, which has been followed by other regions. Also, carbon emissions are decreasing. Although these outcomes are likely not sustainable once activities resume, this clearly shows that our actions impact natural processes on Earth.
After self-reflection, those of us only burdened by lockdown must try to stop complaining about the coronavirus, and instead be grateful for the blessings upon us. We have an opportunity to spend time with our families, and to learn about new online systems and technological intricacies. Appreciate this, rather than complain. Let’s be grateful for the water, resources, and food our planet provides us.
Once we change our mindset, we must take action. There are several ways to get involved with protecting our planet and celebrating Earth Day, even at home. This could include small acts like turning off lights, unplugging technology you aren’t using, or taking shorter showers.
Larger acts could involve making plans to transition your home to more renewable energy sources. You and your family could plant a garden, start composting with the help of educational videos, shop sustainable brands online, donate to agencies helping fight climate change… the list goes on.
I urge you to use the coronavirus and its effects as an educational tool to prevent bigger disasters. Yes, on Earth Day, but also every day.
Although we may not think so, the coronavirus has shown us that humans have the ability to come together and fight for a cause.
The actions of citizens of Earth have been critical in flattening the case and death curves. We were the ones that sheltered in place, wore our masks and increased sanitation routines, and held others accountable for not socially distancing.
We should employ this same enthusiasm and approach to protect our mother rather than destroy her. Earth is our home, and we must take care of it just as it takes care of us.