The very first celebration of Earth Day took place on April 22, 1970, as 1 billion people gathered to protest oil spills, polluting factories, wildlife extinction and loss of wilderness. Earth Day is still a day the entire globe unifies to celebrate, but this year’s Earth Day celebration is taking place under circumstances in which it is imperative to stay indoors. In the midst of the pandemic, our daily lives have had to go through many adjustments. The coronavirus’s effects began to spiral at a rate so fast and so sudden that leaders had to act quickly.
Although climate change’s effects are not presenting themselves in our everyday lives like COVID-19, it is nonetheless working to devastate the future of our planet. The World Meteorological Organization reported that in 2019 there was a record rise in sea level, shrinking ice, ocean heat, wildfires and natural disasters.
While you are quarantined on Earth Day this year, you can still do your part to help the environment from home. Here are some simple yet effective ways you can help.
Recycling helps prevent pollution, conserves natural resources and energy, decreases the size of landfills and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Common objects like bottles, plastics, paper, cardboard, metals, glass and plastic bags can be recycled. Just look for the symbol on your items. In Bowling Green, Southern Recycling has set guidelines to keep social distancing in tact while dropping off your recyclables.
Before buying something, consider the amount of waste the product will generate. For example, instead of buying large packs of disposable plastic water bottles, invest in one reusable water bottle or a pitcher.
Pick up litter
Take a break from homework or Netflix binging to go outside and help Bowling Green with its spring cleaning. Pick up trash around your neighborhood, on campus or downtown.
Eat less meat
No one likes to hear it, but the production of meat takes a huge toll on the planet. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization released a report in 2013 concluding that livestock is responsible for 18% of our world greenhouse gas emissions. You don’t have to go fully vegan to make an impact. Even just eating vegetarian one day a week is a great step in the right direction
Adjust your day-to-day behaviors
Avoid wasting water by taking excessive showers or leaving the water running during dishwashing, face washing or brushing teeth. Rely on daylight for as long as possible and turn lights off when leaving a room.
Plant a tree
Not only do trees give off the oxygen we need to breathe — they also improve air quality by filtering out pollutants and carbon monoxide.
When the effects of COVID-19 abruptly spiralled out of control, there was a globally-coordinated response among national leaders and regional leaders to solve the complex problem we are currently facing. In addition to this, all of us made adjustments in our daily lives at an individual level in an effort to make a positive impact. Just by simply staying inside, avoiding large groups and taking precautions to stay clean, we are preventing the spread from getting worse.
We may not feel the effects of climate change like we do with the pandemic, but there are long-term consequences for neglecting to act accordingly.
Among the other adjustments you are making in your life due to the pandemic, practice implementing ways of protecting the environment from home. And on this unique Earth Day, take some time to appreciate the beauty of the Earth and do your part to protect it. We depend on the Earth to keep us alive, so it’s our responsibility to keep it clean and healthy.