Did you know that Earth Day is April 22nd of every year? April 22, 2020 will mark 50 years of Earth Day.
Earth Day was a unified response to an environment in crisis — oil spills, smog, rivers so polluted they literally caught fire.
On April 22, 1970, around 20 million Americans took to the streets to protest the negative impacts of industrial development and collectively launched the modern environmental movement that is now being recognized as the planet’s largest civic event.
Our planet provides us with everything we need – food, shelter, clothing, water, air. It does makes sense to show gratitude and appreciation to the planet that nourishes us, right?
It’s a no-brainer. We all know it is important to protect our natural resources because we need them to live. We need clean air to breathe, and clean water to drink.
But when we destroy nature and pollute the environment, we destroy and pollute ourselves as well.
Case in point: COVID-19 outbreak.
COVID-19 is the latest example of how human impact on biodiverse areas and wildlife habitats is linked to the spread of infectious diseases.
While the virus was certainly not engineered in a laboratory, this doesn’t mean humans haven’t played a role in the current pandemic. Reports show that human impingement on natural habitats, biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation are making virus spillover events much more likely.
According to a study conducted by The Royal Society, the number of emerging infectious disease outbreaks has more than tripled every decade since the 1980s. More than two thirds of these diseases originate in animals, and about 70% of those come from wild animals. Many of the infectious diseases we’re familiar with — Ebola, HIV, swine and avian flu — are zoonotic.
By disrupting ecosystems, we have created the conditions that allow animal viruses to cross over into human populations. Would you agree then that we – humans – are responsible for this COVID-19 pandemic, and are making our own death note?
We don’t know how long this pandemic would last, but I believe that we still have time to act.
Coincidentally, the theme for Earth Day 2020 is climate action. I would really like to encourage you to take action and celebrate Earth Day beyond this month and into the rest of the year.
Here are 5 ways to celebrate earth day at home – during and after the pandemic:
1. SPEAK UP FROM HOME
Create your own window sign or social media posts and include #EARTHRISE, #EarthDay2020, or earthday.org on it. Earthday.org has a few sample digital materials that you can use.
Or you can create your own campaign slogans. My favorite slogans that are widely-used everywhere are:
“The climate’s changing; why aren’t we?”
“Don’t be a fossil fool!”
“Let’s rise up before the seas do.”
“Less plastic would be fantastic!”
2. FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE WITH DIET CHANGE
Did you know that our food choices have a significant impact not only on our health but on the planet? Coronavirus, and other viruses and bacteria, mostly come from farmed and wild animals. Committing to reducing your meat consumption can greatly improve our health and reduce carbon footprint. And please, don’t waste your food.
3. CHOOSE POLLEN OVER PESTICIDES
Pollinators are critically important to our global food production and nutritional security. Without pollinators, many of the foods we depend on would become scarce, putting life on our planet at risk. Join earthday.org in helping protect pollinators by pledging to stop your use of pesticides. Go to their website and pledge your support.
4. USE THE EARTH CHALLENGE 2020 APP
This app, which is available on Android and iOS devices, allows you to gather critical environmental data near you. It has two elements for you to measure — air quality and plastic pollution — with more on the way. Try it, it’s cool!
5. CHAT WITH YOUR FAVOURITE LOCAL BUSINESSES
Send a letter to businesses asking that they implement more eco-friendly practices. Ask them to remove plastic and Styrofoam from their packaging. You can also encourage them to start composting programs at work. More importantly, support companies that give back to your community and focus on sustainability.
On Wednesday, April 22nd, join millions around the world to stand up for the planet.
Can Mother Nature count on you?
Jomay Amora-Dueck is the creator of theecoistcollective.com and author of Becoming Ecoist: A Beginner’s Guide to Minimalist and Sustainable Living. Download your FREE copy at theecoistcollective.com.