Disappointed over all the plans and events you’ve had to cancel since the MCO began? Believe me, we doubt warding off a contagious virus and being cooped up at home indefinitely was what we all had in mind when setting our 2020 resolutions.
But hang on! There’s still an occasion going on as planned on our calendars right now, which could also perhaps inspire an inkling of hope amidst the not-so-positive recent happenings.
That’s right! It’s Earth Day!
And this year calls for twice the amount of celebration for its 50th anniversary being held worldwide!
Okay, before you get your pants in a twist over how on Earth (no pun intended) we’re going to celebrate an event that’s typically done physically or on-site, let’s get some perspective first. Being #SafeAtHome has definitely left us with scarcer options but that should never be a reason to not contribute or participate in some way, shape, or form.
Let’s look at some ways we could improvise:
The organisers behind Earth Day have put up this cool contingency plan for people to practice in quarantine. Essentially the Earth Day Challenge revolves around goals set on a daily basis to accomplish small milestones of change, however tiny or miniscule. It also helps paint a bigger picture where your role, as an individual or as part of a community, can strive for a better tomorrow. A little dramatic but you get the gist of it.
Although the challenge was initiated at the beginning of April as a countdown sequence to Earth Day on the 22nd of April, some of the challenges can be carried out at any period of time, for instance doing ‘The Plastic Audit’ or ‘Going on a Plant-based Meal for a Day’ or even ‘Going Zero-Waste for a Day’. All of which can be done from the very comfort of our homes amidst quarantine.
If you think a day or two is not going to make a difference, we’d recommend taking a look at these statistics from the University of Texas which shows just how LONG each item takes to decompose and then maybe you’ll think twice about mass-hoarding all these non-renewable items.
To break down (pun intended) the stats for you, this is how long it takes for each item to decompose:
So remember to think before using another plastic bag or bottle!
Ironically enough, this year’s Earth Day theme is on ‘Climate Action’ and what do you know? Nature has subsequently taken a turn for the BETTER since we began confining ourselves at home. That just goes to show what’s, or rather who’s, the problem.
No, really, it’s us. Some of the shining examples of nature thriving without us in the picture include:
Air pollution in China dropped by nearly 30% in March 2020 after industrial production and vehicle mobility were put on hold (a huge deal considering China contributes to 50% of air pollution in Asia itself!)
Clearer waters in Venice canals free of tourists and motorboats (turns out not many people knew they had fish down there either!)
Animals returning to habitats usually wrought with human traffic - as seen in the black bear population at Yosemite National Park as well as special appearances by wild goats roaming the streets of LLandudno with no humans to chase them away!
Beaches in Miami and Sarasota never looked better without tourist interference.
You can read up further on the adverse effects of quarantine and coronavirus on the world here.
While we obviously cannot stay in quarantine forever in exchange of giving Mother Nature a breather, it does give us some things to think about. Eventually the global economy and industry will have to resume post-coronavirus and there’s the risk of undoing everything that’s been repaired so far.
Applying more conscious effort to maintain environmental rejuvenation is a start. Even in quarantine, there are a lot of steps we can take to ensure change is not stagnant.
Things you could practice could be turning your edible waste into soil compost (rather than see them ending up in landfills.)
Since we’re spending a lot of our time eating at home, our waste bags will double in size and make it harder for garbage disposal.
Yes, we get it. Being at home gets boring and now, with online classes going, you can expect your browser to be flooded with multiple tabs.
You could start by timing your electricity usage and cut down where possible, be it when overcharging your phones or keeping one too many lights on. Watch those zeroes from the electricity bill just *poof* disappear.
Avoid food delivery services and attempt cooking at home to stop plastic and cardboard accumulation. It’s important to support businesses currently struggling during this difficult time but ordering in food on a daily basis is quite irresponsible if you’re trying to go green.
Why hoard up on waste when you can put your rad cooking skills to the test with these recipes? (Or in some cases, take this opportunity to brush up on a blooming talent!)
If ordering in isn’t something you can avoid, start small by opting for environmentally friendly choices you can make like saying ‘no’ to disposable cutleries.
While we all need to co-exist whether or not our lives have been put on hold. Just because we’re in quarantine doesn’t mean we have to put a stop to our efforts. It’s time we get creative by pooling our strengths together for a brighter tomorrow!
In the meantime, remember to stay home, stay safe, and do our part in keeping Mother Nature clean!
PS. You can join EARTHRISE, a global digital mobilisation, on 22nd April which houses 24 hours worth of global conversations, calls to action, performances, video teach-ins, and so much more! Here you can choose to SPEAK, ACT, VOTE, and EDUCATE on the future of our planet, simply by the swivel of your fingertips!
Find out more at earthday.org or @earthdaynetwork on social media.
Karen Grace Prince is currently pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communication (Honours). She is also the Director of Events Committee for the Taylor's Model United Nations Club (TLMUN) and Director of Ext. Operations for TLMUN 2020 Conference Secretariat Team.