Earth Day: The Simple Gifts of Nature
No matter the weather, Earth Day is a day to be outside, enjoy the fresh air, walk through the woods or an open field, to feel the warmth of the sun, or to play in the rain. On April 22nd, you have no excuse not to go smell some flowers or take a calm canoe or kayak ride along a river. It’s the day we remind ourselves, this day and always, to enjoy the wonders of the planet. Here’s a little Earth Day info and guidance for newcomers.
The First Earth Day
The observance of Earth Day arose from a culmination of oil spills, and other forms of pollution and environmental destruction. Flabbergasted by the negligence of the government and U.S. citizens in regards to environmental protection, activist John McConnell and Senator Gaylord Nelson brought together nearly 20 million Americans across the country on April 22, 1970 to demonstrate in the streets and advocate for environmental protection and healthier, more sustainable environment.
A Few Ways to Celebrate
The most common way to celebrate Earth Day is to plant a tree, the Arbor Day Foundation has some tips on their website. There are lots of ways to give back though. Instead of, or better yet, in addition to, planting a tree, you could plant wild flowers. Gardeners could consider going native with new spring and summer plants. You can also bring more natural diversity to your garden by growing plants that attract butterflies. Try as aster, lilac, sage or mint for pretty immediate results. Another great way to go green(er) is to dive into a vegetable garden. Water conservation is another great focus for Earth Day (which it’s been said is every day), especially when gardening. Place plants close together, weed diligently, and harvest your fruit or vegetable crop as soon as it is ripe in order to cut down on water waste.
Earth Day Education
Environmental education is at the heart of the mission of Earth Day and the Earth Day Network, an organization that works with over 22,000 partners in 192 countries to “broaden, diversify and mobilize the environmental movement.” Projects like The Canopy Project, which plants trees in impoverished communities, are funded by the Earth Day Network. Another project is the Green Cities Campaign, which aims to decrease emissions and create financial opportunities in growing green economies, focusing on the world’s more vulnerable populations.
No matter how you choose to celebrate Earth Day, whether it is by planting a tree or contributing to larger, global endeavors, it is important to remember what this day is all about. It’s a day to simply appreciate and remind ourselves of the importance of the basic and indispensable gifts of nature and the beauty and sustenance they provide. And, as we all know, that’s really something to celebrate.