The Earth got a chance to recover last year during the Pandemic, as evidence of human impact lifted. Wildlife came out, rivers and skies cleared up, CO2 levels dropped. The absence of traffic, crowds, and noise made it easier on our planet’s other inhabitants.
As we begin to return to a more normal life, there’s a part of me that already mourns the loss of this quiet, uninhabited space. We know what’s coming: the huge uptick in travel, the festivals, the tourism, the return to occupying every square inch of space. We’ll push wildlife back into the corners. While I’m looking forward to venturing out, I keep hoping we can maintain the gains the planet won in our absence.
Every Earth Day we publish a few simple ideas for low-impact living. Here’s the list for Earth Day 2021:
Earth Day 2021 Ideas:
Watch: The Year The Earth Changed – David Attenborough narrates this 1-hour documentary with incredible footage taken during the 2020 Pandemic. From empty streets to the depths of the ocean, film crews captured the benefits of fewer humans walking around. Breeding cycles increased for endangered animals, birds and whales experienced higher levels of communication, pollution levels dropped for the first time in decades in many crowded spots. The images are still with me.
Evaluate: What Can We Keep? – There were many good things that came from Stay-at-Home orders. Working without the commute, less traffic (okay, No traffic) for those who still did commute, and gaining back time to do other things, are among the most notable. What habits can we keep to help reduce our impact on the planet? What commitments can we make to help retain some of those planetary gains? Travel by car and bike instead of flying? Working from home a few days a week? Growing more food (gardening took off during the pandemic, and wow, were we busy!)?
Observe: What Can We Change? – This is the year to make broad-sweeping global changes to reverse climate change before it’s too late. Vote for legislators who advocate for climate-resilient measures. Learn about what you can do–on a local level–to advocate for green solutions to harmful pollution, transportation, and agriculture problems close by. Use your observation skills that you developed in the garden to establish more habitats in your community, plant more native plants, create more open spaces for wildlife.
Even though isolation was the theme of last year, we’re in this together. One planet, a whole bunch of people, and a lot of other species, together. Let’s work together to keep those gains, and work toward more on this Earth Day 2021.
Want some other ideas, read previous Earth Day ideas in this newsletter