My mom’s column in today’s newspaper, The Marshall Advocate, is a reminder not to forget the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Remember to follow through with your plans on how to make the world a better place for ourselves and future generations
Walk with Me
by Priscilla Wieck
Last year in one of my columns I wrote about a theory of the passage of time that some scientists had put forward. I recall that the main thrust of the theory was that, for humans, time seems to have passed slowly when we were learning or doing new things. We remembered past activities in greater detail if they were different from our daily routine experiences.
Now that we are all sequestered in our own little spaces, most of us are following the same routines day after day. These days seem to blur together and often we lose track of time. We have little re-call of what we did the day before and the day before that! To me, right now, time seems to be passing rather quickly. “What day is it really?” Connie and I often ask each other. Time for the weekly trash pick-up already? Whatever happened yesterday, or the day before that, or even last week, we wonder.
Earth Day, April 22
To my chagrin, that is my excuse for forgetting about Earth Day. It was Tuesday, April 22nd, just two days ago as I write this. The 50th anniversary, no less!
First celebrated in 1970, Earth Day events are now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network in more than 193 countries. Many communities extend Earth Day activities to last for an entire “Earth Week.” The emphasis for all Earth Days is to show support and to take action for environmental protection. However, this year’s celebrations were more subdued and held mostly by Internet transmissions.
The theme for the 2020 Earth Day was Climate Action. This is a particularly apt theme because of the unexpected impact of the coronavirus outbreak. In cities around the globe, blue skies and clear water are appearing where only weeks ago pollution was clouding the atmosphere and seeping into open and ground waters. In Los Angeles, residents are observing the lovely blue skies that we here in Marshall see often. Fewer people are driving cars and trucks and that is reducing noxious air emissions.
Although our environment may be getting cleaner during this time of COVID-19 , lives of many people are disrupted and getting worse due to loss of jobs and isolation. Environmentalists have learned that any sustainable change in emissions and pollution will need to happen in a way that will not put workers’ livelihoods in jeopardy. Those who live in polluted areas of the world have had an opportunity to experience living with cleaner air and water. Hopefully they will demand that their countries find ways to balance their working opportunities with cleaner, healthier living spaces in the future.
It’s not too late to put some Earth Day ideas into practice. They may seem small but really , everyday is earth day, isn’t it? Many of these suggestions you have heard before, but it is good to be reminded of them. For starters, you can walk or ride a bike instead of driving your car, if possible. Be sure to take a trash bag and pick up litter as you go. You can plant a shade tree that will be enjoyed by future generations. Refill your water bottle, fix that leaky faucet and consider getting a rain barrel to collect water for yard plantings. Shorten your shower time to conserve water usage.
Using earth friendly cleaning products such as baking soda and vinegar keeps pollutants from our ground water. Dear Abbey is a strong promoter of that hint. Don’t use insecticide on your garden flowers. This will encourage visits from the native bee population; they are the world’s pollinators. Treat them with care.
Reduce your use of plastics and recycle, recycle, recycle. Reuse, reuse, reuse. Think before you throw away items as trash that could be used by someone else. It only takes a few minutes to break down those boxes and take them to the recycling bin. Landfills are not the most environmentally friendly places with their methane gas emissions.
And most importantly, help your children and grandchildren understand how wonderful our world is and how we must work to care for it. So many Marshallonians have taken advantage of this virus isolation and been enjoying the spring weather outside. We all should appreciate and enjoy our beautiful yards and blooming trees. Soon flower and veggie gardens will materialize. Watch for them –maybe plant one.
Most of all, take care of yourself. Whether time is passing quickly or slowly for you, eventually a new normal will emerge. Whatever happens, we will deal with it together.
“I cannot do all the good that the earth needs—but the earth needs all the good I can do.–Anon
Happy late Earth Day! Peace