By Michelle Peters. Michelle is an Associate Program Manager at Energy Sciences. The firm helps clients meet energy challenges with practical solutions that reduce waste and increase net operating income.
If I had to pick a favorite season, it would be the spring; the days gradually become longer and warmer, my gardens start coming back to life, and there’s spring holidays like Easter, Mother’s Day, and Earth Day. Life is much different this spring, most of the country is following “Stay Home, Stay Safe” orders in the midst of a global pandemic, and if you’re like me, you’ve been navigating through information overload the last month. I’ve been working through this by focusing on sources of information that make me feel informed and prepared, but not frightened about what I cannot personally control. There’s good news, Earth Day 2020 will still be celebrated around the world, while it may be much different than observances past, we can still make a difference. More good news, 2020 is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
The first Earth Day is widely credited as founded by US Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, as an environmental awareness teach-in on April 22, 1970. My first memories of celebrating Earth Day are from the early 1990s, my first-grade teacher took our whole class on a walk, which ended in a local park. She asked the class that day if we knew why we were in the park, we learned about the significance of Earth Day, drew pictures of what we saw around us, and made a list as a class of what we could do to make a difference.
What can we do now? We certainly are not going to be meeting in large groups in person or participating in community lead service projects—but our actions have an impact, and we can still make a difference. I was inspired to write this very blog by a recent social media trending topic started by NASA, #EarthDayAtHome, a list of the top ways to celebrate can be found below.
How to Celebrate #EarthDayAtHome
Eat a More Plant Based Diet
Not only will you reap health benefits, like boosting your immune system and reducing the risk of hypertension, obesity, and type 2 diabetes, but decreasing our animal-based food consumption has several positive environmental outcomes. Taking one small action, swapping out that ¼ pound burger for a veggie-based burger can save 425 gallons of water, the emissions of 348 miles of driving, and enough energy to power a smart phone for 6 months.
Take Advantage of Green Power
You, as a consumer, may have an option to receive some or even all of your electric power from renewable sources—and it’s easier than you may think. Across the country electric utility providers are giving their customers the ability to “opt-in” in receiving part or all their monthly electricity from renewable sources, while may be a small upcharge you will be helping the growth of the clean energy economy, creating new jobs, and reducing your overall carbon footprint.
Read More, Stream Less
Did you know that steaming is actually quite carbon intensive? In order to deliver music and video streaming services energy is needed to run massive servers in addition to the electric use in your own home. Take a break from binge watching your favorite show and pick up a good book that brings the experience of nature and exploration to you. One of my favorite books is “A Walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson, a narrative about the authors experience hiking the Appalachian Trail with his childhood friend, filled with adventure, witty dialogue, and humor.
Visit NASA’s Earth Day at Home Website
NASA has curated an interactive #EarthDayAtHome experience for the whole family, which launched on March 3rd with a 50-day countdown blog to the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. Complete with a toolkit, podcasts, videos, and even a “Make Your Own Satellite View of Earth”, they have taken on a global view of Earth Day. A full list of activities has been published for April 22nd, the highlight is of which is, a live interactive question and answer session with Astronaut Chris Cassidy who recently started his mission at the International Space Station. A full schedule of events and resources can be found at: https://www.nasa.gov/content/earth-day-2020
Earth Day, 11 Actions for the Planet During a Pandemic, https://www.earthday.org/11-actions-for-the-planet-during-a-pandemic/
Meatless Monday, Environment, https://www.meatlessmonday.com/research/environment/
NASA, NASA Marks Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary with #EarthDayAtHome, https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-marks-earth-day-s-50th-anniversary-with-earthdayathome/