Today is Earth Day and this proverb cannot say it any simpler:
“We don’t inherit the land; we borrow it from our offspring.” — Native American Proverb
Earth Day is a yearly celebration of the environment. It is also a public awareness campaign concerning pollution. Rallies, seminars, outdoor activities, and volunteer initiatives are held worldwide on April 22. Earth Day, like every day, is a day to think about how our actions affect the environment.
People reflect on new strategies to lessen their carbon footprint and enhance water quality. They join together to get their hands dirty and make serious efforts to make the world a better and healthier place to live. Earth Day is a special day for everyone to take time out of their busy lives to reflect on humanity’s impact on the environment and to take actions to reduce those effects.
While it would be ideal if we all lived as if every day was Earth Day, the event serves as a pleasant reminder each year to respect the environment and express gratitude to Mother Nature.
Earth Day began as a grassroots campaign that helped establish the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It also helped enact the Clean Air Act, the Water Quality Improvement Act, the Endangered Species Act, and several other environmental laws. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, who died in 2005, created the idea for Earth Day.
Earth Day was firstly celebrated on April 22, 1970, and is regarded widely as kickstarting the current environmental movement. The inaugural Earth Day brought together 20 million Americans from all walks of life. The day became a global phenomenon 20 years later, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 nations and bringing environmental issues to the forefront of the worldwide agenda.
What is Earth Day?
Earth Day is a day for reflection and gratitude for all that the Earth provides for us. It’s also an excellent chance to develop our bonds with nature, give back, and consider how we might help the Earth better support future generations.
This year’s Earth Day topic is “Protect Our Species.” The millions of species we know and adore and many more yet to be found are nature’s gifts to our world. Unfortunately, humans have irreversibly broken nature’s balance, and as a result, the planet is seeing its worst rates of extinction since the dinosaurs died out almost 60 million years ago. However, unlike the destiny of the dinosaurs, today’s rapid extinction of species is due to human action.
We must improve the climate by planting trees or using less plastic. By eliminating carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, trees help to prevent climate change. Forests counteract 10 to 20 percent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions yearly through photosynthesis. Furthermore, trees guard against climatic impacts such as flooding, becoming more common due to increased localized heavy precipitation. Trees help avoid about 400 billion gallons of runoff every year in the continental United States, enough water to fill 600,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools, capturing rainwater, decreasing erosion, and producing more permeable soils.
Unsurprisingly, places with more trees, such as the Southeast and Pacific Northwest, provide higher benefits. However, some benefits are more significant in metropolitan regions, which are more likely to experience air pollution and floods. By providing natural shade, trees in urban areas can lessen the urban heat island effect and eliminate air conditioning needs by up to 30%. Urban trees save about $5 billion in energy costs in the United States each year. Planting trees can also help a healthier planet while enhancing our daily lives because lower energy usage implies fewer carbon dioxide emissions.
What We Can Do
Clean Up the Plastic in Your Park or Neighborhood
Cleanups are one of the best ways to connect with the Earth! Take a garbage bag along with you and assist in cleaning any plastic you come across. Perhaps you know of a trash-filled ditch cleaned up this spring! You’ll see that plastic is present in every facet of our life. But, as the world realizes its addiction to plastic, how easy is it to get rid of it while still growing and storing more of our food? Remember to recycle as much plastic as possible.
Replace Your Kitchen and Household Items
Let’s look at the cooking and cleaning items that come into contact with the food we consume. Everything can be biodegradable. Avoid using chemicals and plastics. Consider 100% recycled aluminum foil, chemical-free parchment paper for baking, compostable bags produced from potato starch, and even packaging.
Don’t Forget to Plant a Tree
Our trees are essential to us. They minimize the danger of disease transmission, collect carbon, cool overheated areas, assist agriculture, support pollinators, and boost the local economy. Did you know that one oak tree attracts more bug and bird species than a whole yard of flowers? Discuss with your local government the possibility of more trees and native garden beds planted in public locations, or consider doing so on your land.
Use Wildflowers and Native Plants in Your Garden
Wildflowers and native plants are attractive, but they also attract natural and helpful insects, which helps with pest management and pollination, resulting in larger flowers and harvests. You’ll be surprised at the difference if you only add a couple of native plants to your garden each year—they’ll attract pollinators and birds.
In the Garden, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
The environment entails reducing waste and conserving money. Who could disagree with this? Here are a few tips if you’re a gardener.
Buy in bulk when you know you’ll need a lot of topsoils, mulch, compost, or other materials. It reduces the use of plastic bags. Many garden centers can transport directly to your home. Check with your local recycling center or the Department of Transportation to see if they have any free compost, soil, sand, or other materials. Old plastic pots and trays can be reused, recycled, or returned.
Water Conservation is Essential
We squander a great deal of water. Knowing how much water your garden requires will help you avoid overwatering your plants and improve their health. Avoid watering your garden veggies and plants from above, as this encourages fungus growth.
Consider Your Diet
Every year, over one-third of the food goes to waste! How can we reduce waste and save our own lives? What can we do to make our diets healthier for ourselves (and the environment)? One option is to be concerned about our “foodprint”. This means the total of everything that goes into our bodies, getting the food from the farms to the consumer.
Earth Day Activities for Kids
On Earth Day, children are a lot of fun: they have an instinct for conservation and preservation, enjoy getting their hands dirty, and enjoy any form of celebration. It’s simple to plan Earth Day activities for kids.
Start by asking them what they’d want to do to help the environment. This brainstorming exercise will assist you in determining what you and your children can do to help the environment. Here are a few recommendations:
∙ Plant a tree to improve the appearance of your area, provide food and shelter for birds, and reduce soil erosion. You can get a 40% discount on a tree to plant at your home in honor of Earth Day and Arbor Day.
∙ Invite friends and neighbors to a recycling party where they can collect recyclable materials and turn them in for rewards.
∙ Collect a group of children and clean up a local park, beach, or other public space.
Authored by Afifa Maryam Siddiqui
Edited by Yara Fakhoury
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