With humans sheltered-in-place worldwide, Earth seems to be smiling back. The COVID-19 pandemic is a tragedy for humankind, causing illness and death across seas. But with a reduction of human impact, the environment is also transforming – in a positive way. Air pollution has dramatically decreased, habitats have been (temporarily) restored, and global carbon emissions have fallen.
This year, April 22 marks 50 years of Earth Day – an environmental movement that began in 1970 and is today celebrated in more than 192 countries each year. Because most of us will no longer be able to attend events and celebrate together, CCSPA has curated different ideas to celebrate the nature we love and the planet we live on.
To show Earth you care, celebrate this week in simple ways:
Take a trash bag, gloves, and a face mask and collect the litter around your neighborhood, the beach, or a trail near-by.
Go on a Hike
Visit one of Central Coast’s beautiful State Parks – but first check the California State Parks website for closures and be sure to follow safe distancing guidelines.
Visit a Super Bloom
After our recent rainfalls, the wildflowers have come out of hiding to cover our hills in different colors of the rainbow. Out near Carrizo Plains and along Shell Creek Rd (off Highway 58), locals can spot various species of Lupine, Poppies, Baby Blue Eyes, etc.
Plant a Garden
Spring has sprung, so flourish your yard with fresh soil and seeds. Now is the perfect time to plant your own vegetables and flowers at home.
Start a Compost Bin
Did you know that the SLO County Integrated Waste Management Authority collects compost from your curbside green waste bin? It’s simple: keep a small compost bin with a lid in your kitchen, throw your food scraps into it, then dump the scraps into your green waste bin when it fills up. This helps to reduce waste in the landfill that could otherwise replenish the soil to continue food and crop production.
Watch the Sunset or Sunrise
This week the sun will rise around 6:20 a.m. each morning and set around 7:40 p.m. each night, so block out a few minutes of your day to catch a glimpse of the sky and listen to the peaceful sounds of nature. The hills are green and the flowers are blooming, so now is a beautiful time to embrace it all.
Watch the Lyrid Meteor Shower
The Lyrid meteor shower will “rain stars” overhead each night through April 25th but April 21-22 is the peak period – just in time for Earth day. Under clear skies, viewers are expected to see 10-20 meteors per hour, so make sure to look up at night!
Watch a Nature Documentary… or Two… or Three…
Find a nature-focused film that inspires you to give back to our planet. Below is a compiled list of suggestions:
- Planet Earth
- Blue Planet
- Ode to Muir
- A Plastic Ocean
- JANE (about Jane Gooddall)
- True Coast
- Fishpeople (a film by Patagonia)
Sustainable Food Choices
Use this week to re-think your food choices or make an effort to reduce your meat or dairy intake. Eat more fresh produce, say no to single-use plastics, and bring your own grocery bags (and face mask) to the store.
Ditch the Car: Go for a Walk or Bike Ride
Try to be mindful of your transportation and see if you can walk or bike more, instead of draining the fuel tank!
Clean out Your Closet
Go through your closet and see what you no longer need in there – jackets, pants, shoes, hats, etc. – then start a pile of items to donate to a homeless shelter or thrift store once quarantine is over.
Hopefully this list can spark something in you to give back to the planet. No matter where you are or what your quarantine looks like, we can all give back in some way this year.
Take this week to reflect on all the good nature has given to you and be mindful of your choices. We can all show our Mother a little extra love this April 22nd.
“The single biggest threat to our planet is the destruction of habitat and along the way loss of precious wildlife. We need to reach a balance where people, habitat, and wildlife can co-exist – if we don’t everyone loses … one day.” —Steve Irwin