Earth Day Reflection – 2020

April 22, 2020

First and foremost: Happy Earth Day!

It will be a beautiful 77° day here in Sioux Falls, SD and I plan to celebrate by filling up my bird feeders and enjoying a book in my backyard. I’m currently reading The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien for the second time (first as an adult) and I can’t think of a book more appropriate. It’s no secret Tolkien loved nature and it bleeds through into every paragraph in his novels. Also, Isengard was literally one fat metaphor for the industrial revolution…

Which leads me in to the current state of our fragile Earth in 2020. Throughout the COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) pandemic, you have no doubt seen uplifting posts on social media celebrating the dolphins returning to polluted Italian canals, India gazing upon the Himalayan ridge line for the first time in 30 years, and Elephants in China taking naps in tea gardens. Wow! It’s as if this widespread and deadly human disease has given nature the few months it needed to reclaim the Earth!

But the thing is all those too-good-to-be-true blips of uplift are exactly that: too good to be true. Well, mostly. It turns out people just like you or me happened to snap a picture of dolphins in the water, typed out a few of their personal opinions, and waited for the “likes” to roll in. Pop-culture media had not acted responsibly either. They quickly nabbed up these stories, posted them without further research, and conveniently added taglines like, “Nature Hit A Reset Button!” Well the button I’m thinking of is small and red and says, “That was easy,” when you slap it.

However, for Earth Day, I want everyone to stay positive and remember this: The feeling those posts and headlines gave you was 100% real. How excited did you get when you heard that the air in long-polluted cities was now crystal clear? Did your heart flutter when you watched dolphins swimming joyously through public waterways? And how much did you love this picture of a coyote enjoying the barren San Francisco Bay?

So, if you are so lucky, take time on this peculiar Earth Day and head outside to a backyard, balcony, or nearby park. Leave your phone behind. Take a seat and think about what you could do to improve the environment around you just a little bit. It could be as simple as picking up some litter each time you go out or as noble as eliminating single-use plastic bags from your household. Recently, I designated a section of my backyard to becoming a “pollinator paradise” using a website called Prairie Moon Nursery (more on that in a future post). Just know that every little bit helps!

Happy Earth Day!

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