It’s no doubt that this year’s Earth Day is unlike any we’ve seen before. While most of the globe is bound by social restrictions and kept inside, the Earth is having a very different experience than it has in quite some time.
A Brief History of Earth Day
At its outset fifty years ago, Earth Day began as a mobilization of youth in the United States to bring to the forefront the severe environmental degradation taking place as a result of oil and gas pollution around the world. The environmental movement itself, largely sparked by the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring called to attention that the way things were going would lead to some pretty serious damage if left unchecked.
The first organized Earth Day was kickstarted after Senator Gaylord Nelson witnessed the devastation of an oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. At the time, in 1969, he recognized that leveraging the already passionate vibration of the anti-Vietnam War youth movement would be the best way to get this message out loudly. After a short meeting with then graduate student, Denis Hayes, they began to organize ‘teach-in’s across the country. These events spread like wildfire, sparking events and demonstrations at a mass scale, all taking place on April 22nd. Thus, Earth Day was born.
Since then, it continues to be a day where people across the globe collectively howl their upset at the state of environmental despair, banding together to save this earth we hold so dear.
Today More Than Ever
This year, besides from the obvious impacts that COVID-19 has had on our ability to organize in groups and spend abundant time in nature, Earth Day is evermore pressing. With a steady supply of reports, publications and warnings from scientists about the state of climate change, we now sit atop the mountain peak of no return.
Without serious collective action, it’s clear that our planet will have little chance in providing a safe harbour to its populations, and our capacity to weather the drastic storms coming decreases.
That said, as with many other beautiful, innovative ways of connecting to each other in these unprecedented times, Earth Day lives on. While the pandemic has prevented all the planned in-person demonstrations, a digital gathering, Earth Day Live, is broadcasting for 24 hours. It’s expected to reach one billion people in over 190 countries.
A New Earth Day, All Your Own
And now, the fun stuff. Sure, regular Earth Day involvements may be out of reach, but you know what’s not? The Earth. You know where the Earth is? All around you. It’s under your feet, it’s blowing in through your window, it’s pouring out of your taps, and it’s inside you. So, here are some of our tips and trails to creating your own Earth Day, wherever you’re at.
Get Your Boots on and Hike
That’s right. Even if it’s just around your block, treat it like a hike. Lace up your boots, clip on a carabiner, and go for a hike. If you can get to a local trail and explore there, great. If not, bring the trail experience home. Hell, set up your tent in your living room, tear it down and head out. It’ll feel more like a trip like that.
Get in the Dirt
One of our favourite ways of honouring Mama Earth? Help it grow. Whether you want to start a garden or plant a single seed on your window sill, today is a great day to do that with some intention. Don’t have any seeds on hand? Check with your local nursery and see if they deliver. Don’t have a local nursery? Just get outside and hold some dirt in your hands. It feels great.
Climb a Tree
Warning: climbing trees is risky. To us, that’s the best part. But, do so with a degree of caution, and only push slightly past your comfort zone.
Our favourite to climb: White Pine.
Plan a Trip
While going for backcountry adventures may be on hold, planning them is certainly not. Grab a map, a pad of paper and get cracking on a route.
Added fun: Try to plan a trip with a new component. Maybe this one is intended to have absolutely zero waste. Maybe you do your favourite route backwards. Blindfolded. Use toothpicks as canoe paddles. Whatever it is, give it some intention and see if you can love up the Earth while you do it.
Heres a link to one of our favourite Backroad Map Books in Ontarios Cottage Country (as a bonus, if you click below and buy we get a tiny cut)
With so much area to explore, your options are endless when it comes to outdoor recreation in Ontario. The province is home to over 250,000 lakes, including the Great Lakes, and contains a fifth of the planet’s fresh water.
There is not much you can’t do when it comes to outdoor adventure in British Columbia. In fact, this may be the only place in Canada where you can ocean kayak in the morning and ride the slopes of a world-class ski resort in the afternoon.
Feeling a bit more creative today? Awesome. Draw a picture of your favourite animal, tree, place on earth, or whatever else makes you think ‘nature’. Maybe you hang it on your wall. Maybe you stick it on your window. Added bonus points if you capture and share it with #TripShed or #EarthDay2020.
We know times are tough, with so many people being out of work and wondering how they’ll make ends meet, so this suggestion comes with the preface of: donate IF you can, with however much feels comfortable, and in a way that lands well with you.
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society
Wildlife Conservation Society Canada
While this Earth Day may be different than any other one we’ve seen before, let’s not forget that while we’re all inside doing our part to prevent further spread of COVID-19, the Earth carries on. Whether we’re here or not, the Earth carries on. So, take a moment today to show it some love, and whatever you do, try to get dirty while you do it.
See you on the trail, soon.