In the midst of these challenging times, there’s something to celebrate – the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22. And if silver linings are your thing, there is reliable evidence that the current health pandemic is benefiting the environment, and rather quickly, too.
Indeed, reduced vehicular traffic and airplane travel is doing Mother Earth a big favor. As much of life has slowed, so has the world’s output of greenhouse gases.
According to China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment, data recorded over the first three months of 2020 shows an 84.5 percent increase in days with good air quality in over 300 cities. Satellite data from NASA shows a decline in nitrogen dioxide over China. And, for the first time in 30 years, the Dhauladhar mountain range is visible to residents of Jalandhar, India.
While few could have predicted our current landscape, much less welcomed it, it’s certainly promising that a precious piece of good news aligns with the semicentennial of Earth Day. Since the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, 1 billion people in over 190 countries across the world have sprung into action on behalf of our gorgeous blue planet.
This year, many organized Earth Day activities, like Naperville’s Earth Week, have been postponed until a later date. Other efforts are mobilizing online. But, given Earth Day’s emphasis on nature and the great outdoors, there are still many ways we can observe and celebrate this special day.
- Go outside! Flora and fauna are blossoming and frolicking, blithely unaware of anything but the reawakening of the earth after a long winter. Even if it’s just opening your window or stepping onto your porch or balcony, enjoy the budding trees and flowers, warming air, and all creatures great and small flitting and scurrying about. Here at Monarch Landing, our beautiful, resident-maintained gardens and surrounding 60 acres of native prairie plants are exquisite, especially in the springtime.
- Get your hands in the dirt. Planting a flower bed or even a small pot can be both physically and emotionally therapeutic. Just ask our many Monarch Landing residents for whom gardening is life!
- Take a walk. It is considered safe and beneficial to walk outside, as long as proper social distancing is practiced. Even a short stroll is refreshing and invigorating, not to mention liberating! Monarch Landing’s walking/bike paths are just begging to be explored as spring explodes around us. The Naperville Riverwalk and DuPage County’s prairie path system offer delightful walking experiences as well.
- Practice responsible recycling/repurposing. Literally a haven for butterflies and other creatures that benefit ecology, Monarch Landing also offers residents multi-stream recycling and fun shopping opportunities at our Treasure Chest resale shop.
- Study up on Earth Day. The history, motivation and inspiration surrounding Earth Day make for very interesting reading as we shelter in place. Learn more and discover how you might get involved as well.
This April 22, when Earth Day turns 50 in the face of an unprecedented global situation, let’s celebrate the good growing all around us.