Earth Day Under Quarantine Lives On

50 Years of Earth Day! Guess how we spent it..


Ama Bayar

The Earth is millions of years old, but the last 50 have been dedicated to conserving it.

  Last week on the 22nd of April, the globe celebrated 50 years of Earth Day, a movement first created to encourage awareness of air and water pollution after Santa Barbara experienced an oil spill nightmare. Birds soaked in tar and cooked other marine life off of their rock habitats, the spill uncovered a massive clean-up and a call to action.

     Led by Nelson Gaylord in 1970, a Wisconsin senator at the time, mobilized 20 million citizens to lead an environmental movement. Now,  more than 1 billion people participate in activities for change and appreciation on Earth Day each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.

     With the COVID-19 pandemic running its course, Earth Day is still in effect. This had halted plans to volunteer, plant trees and do clean ups, sign petitions for action and more, but it did not discourage the masses to participate. In fact, millions came together online to witness and engage in various live events and challenges, registered to vote, shared plant-based recipes and switched to green power. Everyone played their part, including artists, musicians, even Pope Francis made a powerful statement, “this should make us all more aware that we stand on holy ground.”

     For being cooped up indoors, the gratifying feeling of stepping outdoors, has fueled appreciation for it even more. Peaceful solitude, fresh plants and the Earth’s natural perfume are valuable to both the planet and humanity. The resources we take from it are valuable, and if they are not properly taken care of and protected, we risk losing the harmony of planetary and human health. The uproar of climate action has been fueled by the disruption of peace and threatening awarenesses in our natural and personal world.

      Michael Pompeo made a statement on Earth Day to raise awareness about wildlife “wet markets.” “Where live species are sold for human consumption and are hotspots for wildlife trafficking, creating risks for the generation and spread of diseases and may have played a critical role in the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.” said Pompeo.

     To call on all governments to close wildlife wet markets permanently could reduce risk to human health and discourage the consumption of trafficked wildlife and wildlife products. If not only this, but thinking of other ways to slow down the way we consume foods and goods to reduce waste and environmental losses that are inextricably linked to our health.

     More than ever, it is said that switching to a plant-based diet is taking “the single most impactful step that you can take as an individual to fight climate change,” according to Dotsie Bausch, executive director of the nonprofit Switch4Good. The United Nations estimates that animal agriculture accounts for at least 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Learning to live more plant-based does not require a full-stop to eating meat, dairy and eggs, but it can teach the benefits of consuming less for a well-rounded lifestyle, and more veggies of course.

     It doesn’t matter where you are in quarantine; managing your food waste, conserving energy, and engaging in civic and local action can be possible. Building connections online and finding your footprint on how to make the world a better place, can help heal the outlasting connection we all have with Earth and each other. Imagine your future; a world with solar power, green roofs, free public transportation, eating from home or from organic local farms, ethical clothing choices and teaching these practices of sustainability to future generations. Now imagine that this is already happening.

     The threat of climate change on our environment is real, and it too is already happening. The immediate action we took to fight COVID-19 is an example of how fast the world can come together and make a plan when faced with a crisis as important as our health. If we are not healthy and taken care of, the chances of taking action to heal the planet, are further weakened and postponed. Overexploitation of the Earth not only adversely affects the balance of ecosystems — it also leads to eventual declines in economic growth, yet another factor of maintaining wellness.

     The good news, is that with everyone at home, “the Earth seems to be reverting to its natural self. Sea turtles are hatching and surviving at record rates. Oceans are the quietest they’ve been in decades. And, air pollution has plummeted in major cities,” according Initiatives have been created that allows people to engage with science through apps. Activism through the app “Earth Challenge 2020” where users can upload photos and alert their local government of any plastic pollution in their communities. Street art campaigns to share their climate-themed pieces with the world using #EarthDay2020Halt

     With everything available to us through technology and community, Earth Day under quarantine lives on.

 @Nilesh_Artist on Instagram
“EarthDay turns 50. The next 50 will be crucial.” -Nilesh