It’s Earth Day today, folks; I believe celebrations are in order. Last year, still in the grips of the pandemic, I remember feeling nostalgic and longing for a proper old-fashioned celebration: waving banners, or hugging trees and fellow activists, all IRL. No such plans for today, alas, despite living in a world luxuriously free of Corona restrictions and drunk on spring and sunshine.
So, if not demonstrating in the streets and squares of the city, how should I mark the day instead? Several different strategies come to mind.
I could opt to honour the day by making some personal sacrifices to help preserve the Planet’s dwindling resources. It would mostly be a symbolic gesture, of course, but aren’t symbols the very fabric of traditions and celebrations? I could decide not to drive today (easy for me, as I don’t ever drive) and skip meat at lunch and dinner (not that tricky either, given that I prefer vegetarian anyway). Restricting my time in the shower would be a bit more of a challenge, I suppose, and so would reducing the amount of energy gobbled by all the devices I use. I’ll do my best, though.
Or I could let myself get inspired by politicians and business leaders and make a pledge. Vowing to abstain from harming the Planet and actively contribute to its preservation in the year(s) ahead is a better option, I suppose, being a long-term one. However, having broken enough new years’ resolutions myself, as well as seen a fair amount of lofty vows peter out, I’m slightly wary of underdelivering. Would I be able to keep a promise to fly less, for instance, knowing that my family and friends are scattered all around the globe? And pledging to lower the indoor temperature by a couple of degrees might sound like a good idea on a sunny day in April, but my grit is bound to be tested as soon as the short Nordic summer is over.
Another option would be to go hands-on by, say, joining a cleanup or a tree-planting session. I must admit, though, I found it easier to get enthusiastic about litter-picking campaigns while living in China than now, in a country where most of the garbage havoc is wreaked by seagulls. And it seems like planting trees in my part of the world hardly needs the help of amateurs like myself.
Just as I’m feeling a bit stuck for ideas on how to celebrate, inspiration comes from a rather obvious source, EARTHDAY.ORG. Apart from pointing out that there are Billions of Acts of Green available out there, the official website also informs me that this year’s theme is Invest in our Planet. Although I suspect that the organization didn’t mean ‘invest’ quite literally, I decide I might just as well follow their lead and focus on the money side of things. Donating a few dollars (preferably on a regular basis) to the reforestation Canopy Project, for instance, makes more sense to me than planting trees in Sweden, even if somewhat less tangible and Instagram-friendly. The Project promises to reforest areas in dire need of rehabilitation, including regions with some of the world’s communities most at risk from climate change and environmental degradation. For me, contributing to their efforts is as good a way of celebrating Earth Day as any.
How do you plan to Invest in our Planet today?