What a world in which we find ourselves for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
One good thing out of this lockdown is the good it’s doing the Earth. Less pollution, lower oil consumption, clearer skies.
But that doesn’t mean the fight is over.
Now more than ever, we need to accept responsibility for our planet. Same as we have with washing our hands and observing self-isolation and social distancing.
While carbon emissions are down due to quarantine, they most certainly won’t stay that way unless we continue being proactive.
So while Earth Day is overshadowed this year by this unprecedented pandemic, there’s an opportunity to embrace it as a turning point .
Our current situation can actually serve some constructive lessons on how we can keep protecting our planet from the harsh reality of climate change.
3 sustainability lessons from COVID-19
Here are some sustainable strategies, inspired by the current lockdown, that we can possibly keep moving forward.
1. If you can reach it on foot or bicycle, do it!
There’s definitely been an increase in walking, as exercise is one of the essential activities some of us can leave the house for. Use it as a reminder of how beneficial and convenient walking or riding can be.
Need to quickly pick up something from the store which is only a 5-minute drive away? Why not make it a 15-minute walk or 10-minute bike ride instead?
2. Schedule regular low-power stay at home weekends
If we’ll be good at something at the end of this lockdown, it will be staying at home. On the other side of COVID-19, let’s try not to lose that; in a way.
Schedule a weekend to read, play outdoors as a family (season permitting of course). Assuming the teddy bears stay in windows, why not keep up the family bear hunts and group chalk drawing on the sidewalk?
Lower your carbon footprint by removing the need to go out and about to enjoy yourself.
3. Use less water
Staying at home has meant less pressure to shower and do the laundry frequently.
Stay with me! Hygiene is vital, of course, but the current predicament does serve as a time to wonder if there are ways you can reduce water usage.
Time your showers. Don’t automatically throw clothes into the laundry hamper after wearing an item once. Don’t grab a new piece of cutlery or knife, grab a recently used one and just give it a quick wipe.
Eliminating waste in little ways adds up.
How to take action this Earth Day
I hear you, it’s tricky celebrating Earth Day this year, given everything that’s going on.
We had grand plans to do a volunteer tree care day today. This was of course canceled.
We also scheduled Earth Day talks each Friday this Earth month. We had to scale this back. But we still held them virtually and they were very memorable.
We shared our personal stories behind our passion for environmentalism. Why do we get involved with environmental activities at PaperCut? Why do we act for the Earth?
Last Friday we shared our favorite spots in nature and why they are important to us. This was incredibly comforting.
COVID-19 is helping us to appreciate what we’ve been taking for granted. And our beautiful but vulnerable planet is at the top of that list.
So while you may feel like there’s more going on right now, you can still celebrate Earth Day and give back to our planet.
I myself will be undertaking these three Earth Day activities from ecochallenge.org .