It has certainly been an interesting couple of months, hasn’t it? Earth Day is here. And, boy, does it look different this year!
Last year’s Earth Day blog post began like this:
As an active outdoor person, I look forward to Earth Day every year. I enjoy the energy surrounding the day and seeing events and promotional materials encouraging people to get outside and either enjoy time in nature or get involved in a volunteer event.
This year, we can’t gather in crowds to hold group volunteer events. We’re encouraged to stay inside as a matter of fact. In Dallas, Good Bumblebee had purchased a vendor booth at the EarthX 2020 Expo, a massive 200,000-person event honoring the 50th Earth Day celebration, but the event was forced to move to a virtual space.
Spring has looked very different this year indeed.
Not everything has been bad in my opinion. One thing I have actually enjoyed during the COVID-19 lockdown is observing young families leisurely walking with their kids down a sidewalk in the middle of the day or young fathers playing with their little ones outdoors, couples on a walk in the afternoon or early evening. I particularly relished watching a young man holding a toddler girl, pointing to a bird on top of a light post as they listened to the morning songs of the finch and giggled every time it made a sound or movement. I can’t help but feel that moment would have been missed had we not been forced to halt life as we knew it.
Even with the anxiety and financial issues that are accompanying this situation for so many, I’ve noticed people simply slowing down. They seem less anxious … less angry … less competitive.
Of course, there are plentiful downsides too – many of them glaringly evident and don’t need mentioning here. One of the most visual negative impacts I’ve noticed affects our planet. Have you noticed the plastic and latex gloves lying all over the ground? Everywhere I turn it seems there’s a purple or blue glove. Or black or white or clear or pink. It never stops. They’re in every grocery store parking lot I’ve been to, and they even catch my eye while driving down the road. Why? How do so many end up cast aside, discarded, and seemingly dropped randomly on the ground? I worry about how many of these gloves will go down the street gutters and into our water supply.
On the other hand, some positive impacts on the planet are the nitrogen dioxide levels diminishing in heavily-populated areas in part due to ceased manufacturing and far fewer commuters. Have you seen the photos depicting air quality improvements over Beijing, Bangkok, Delhi, New York City for example? Wouldn’t it be positively amazing if we learned a serious environmental lesson from the coronavirus pandemic? Experts warn that if businesses and individuals don’t change their habits soon, once the lockdown is over the air will go right back to being as polluted as before.
Nevertheless, I am hopeful that out of this tragic situation, a new perspective about what is truly valuable in life will emerge in us and we will improve our stewardship of Mother Earth.
Happy Earth Day, however that looks for you this year.