We certainly live on an exquisite planet. Don’t you agree? We barely scratch the surface, but our gallery captures some beautiful examples of the marvels of the Earth.
The Earth is teeming with life — on land with us, in the streams and rivers, and within the vast oceans that cover over 70% of the globe. The world supports an amazing diversity of wildlife, landscapes, plants and human cultures. There is so much to experience, that I am convinced that it would take multiple lifetimes to truly grasp the immensity and strength of this diversity in our natural and urban ecosystems.
Not only does nature have intrinsic value (or, value is part of nature’s essence), but we depend on our environment in more ways than we can possibly count. The benefits that nature provides to our health and well-being are called ecosystem goods and services, and include things like food, clean water and clean air.
Just as nature takes care of us, we can all take actions to help our ecosystems continue to thrive. With 7.4 billion people and counting living on Earth, it is becoming more and more clear that we must become good stewards of the natural environment and that each of us does our part to use natural resources responsibly and sustainably. Here are a few easy ways you can help out Mother Earth!
1. Bring a reusable bag to the grocery store.
Help a sea turtle out: plastic bags make their way down to the ocean, and get mistaken for food. Did you know that each reusable bag has the potential to eliminate an average of 1,000 plastic bags over its lifetime? Imagine how many bags that would be over your lifetime!
2. Take a walk or ride your bike to school / work.
Coffee step aside! There’s a better way to wake up in the morning, and that’s by choosing to walk or bike to school and work. You get those legs moving, heart pumping, lungs breathing, and you are reducing your carbon footprint by not burning fossil fuels on your commute.
3. Volunteer with your local conservation group.
Getting involved with a group of new and old friends and walking through a scenic park is a great way to spend a day! Even if you’re picking up trash! The exercise, fresh air, and knowledge that you made a positive, tangible difference in the world will leave you walking on sunshine for the rest of the day.
4. Start a compost bin.
A box, newspaper and worms. This is an easy and fun way to get the whole family involved, shredding the newspaper for the box, observing wriggly worms, and feeding them scraps from the kitchen. And best of all, it’s really the worms that do all the work! Find easy instructions here from some good folks at Cornell University. You’ll be diverting nutrients and energy away from the landfill and producing rich soil for your garden!
5. Buy foods that are locally sourced.
Local foods require less fuel to be transported from the farm to your plate. Plus you can talk to the very people who produced your food at the market! Check out USDA’s Local Harvest web page to find the farmet’s market nearest you and peruse this week’s best sellers.
No matter how you choose to celebrate, whether by tending your own garden, going for a hike, or volunteering at a park, here’s wishing you and your loved ones a very happy Earth Day!