Earth Day: The Simple Gifts of Nature
No matter what the weather, Earth Day is a day to be outside, enjoy the fresh air, walk through the woods or an open field, bask in the glow of the sun, or lift your arms up to the gentle fall of 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 is an exciting day to enjoy the wonders of our planet.
Have you ever wondered how Earth Day began? The observance of Earth Day rose from an interest in and gathering national support of environmental issues. In 1970, activist John McConnell and Senator Gaylord Nelson each asked Americans to join in a grassroots demonstration, out of which rose the celebration of Earth Day.
The most common way to celebrate Earth Day is to plant a new tree, but there are many ways to celebrate the occasion. Instead of, or in addition to planting a tree, you could plant wild flowers. If you garden, you could consider going native with the plants in your garden. Or you could bring more nature into your garden, growing plants that attract butterflies, such as aster, lilac, sage or mint. Another great way to garden is to start a vegetable patch. And always be sure to conserve water, especially when gardening by placing your plants close together, weeding diligently, and harvesting your fruit or vegetable crop as soon as it is ripe.
Education about the environment and proper care of it is at the heart of the mission of Earth Day and the Earth Day Network, an organization that grew out of Earth Day and works with over 22,000 partners in 192 countries to “broaden, diversify and mobilize the environmental movement.” Projects such as The Canopy Project, which plants trees to help communities, particularly the world’s more impoverished ones, 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.
In addition to all of these great projects and campaigns, music has been written and poems composed to commemorate Earth Day and love of the Earth. The Earth Day anthem is a universal song sung on Earth Day to the tune of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” with lyrics such as:
“Joyful joyful we adore our Earth in all its wonderment,
Simple gifts of nature that all join into a paradise.”
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 why we celebrate. It is a love of our planet and the “simple gifts of nature.” We all rely on these gifts to live full, blessed lives. Why not give back to our planet and plant a tree? Or simply revel in the beauty of our world? You won’t want to miss out on the celebration!