Be assured, my children, I, Mother Earth, will join you and we’ll celebrate this landmark Earth Day, the 50th, together. Even though you will mark my existence in isolation or through social distancing, we can still jointly applaud even the smallest environmental gestures. One thing this pandemic has taught you, my earth children, is how much one person can affect others. I hope everyone learns how the same is true in a positive way. One beneficial action can exponentially affect an entire world.
I overhear a woman talking to her husband who’s helping her dig dandelions out of the lawn. “I’d like to plant part of the property in native plants,” she says. “I read they’re a boost for the ecosystem. They provide food for bugs which feed the bats, birds, and other critters. Plus, I like how they look. I know adding native plants is a small thing, but I want to do my part. It’ll make me feel like I’m helping the earth.”
“Go for it,” her husband says. “It might catch on with the neighbors and spread like these dandelions have done.” His smile is infectious and causes her to smile, too.
In another corner of our world, a daughter buys her parents water bottles and reusable grocery bags, helping them realize how they can cut out the waste of plastic. The parents tell their son and soon the entire family is more conscious of conserving resources. The fever catches on.
A teenager calls his girlfriend. “I’m heading to the park. Maybe you want to come, too. We’ll text and make funny faces at each other from across the pond.”
“It’ll be a virtual date,” the girlfriend answers, giggling.
In between texts and funny faces, the boyfriend fills his backpack with stray pieces of litter. The girlfriend thinks next time she’ll bring a bag, too. Even while social distancing, one positive act touches another and spreads.
A brother tells his sister how he’s saving trees, water, and emissions by opting out of pre-approved credit card and insurance offers. “I went to the site and just printed and mailed in their form. You wouldn’t believe how much less junk mail I get. The website is optoutprescreen.com.” She grabs a pencil. “The site to stop unwanted catalogs is catalogchoice.org.”
Trees sway, and the wind picks up. I, Mother Earth, see noble things happening, but I also see how you’re hurting. From melting ice sheets to increasing storms to the current pandemic. Maybe it will help to know that I’m here and I’ll do my part. I’ll try to keep my ecosystem healthy and assist the plants, animals, oceans, and air currents in whatever way I can to protect this planet.
I will celebrate Earth’s Day golden anniversary along with you. Know that you are all significant, that the gestures you make matter. It takes just one clever person with foresight, one Gaylord Nelson, Rachel Carson, John Muir, or Theodore Roosevelt to influence others.
From my global perspective, I see many similar heroes today, people working in health care, grocery stores, or at their desks hoping to find answers. One person connecting with another. Together we can exponentially affect the world.