Celebrating Earth Day

I spent my first two decades of life as a farm girl in southern Wisconsin. Maybe that’s why digging in the dirt, hiking in the woods and sticking my toes in a bubbling creek continue to bring me such joy, even decades later while living the city life near Madison. And born on April 22, spring is my favorite time of the year. My energy and spirit flourish as the yards and fields turn green, heavy parkas are put away and pink blossoms abound.

Sharing a birthday with Earth Day, I feel an obligation to protect the environment and share my appreciation for our beautiful Earth. I take pride in making my little part of the world safe, clean and beautiful. Earth Day 2020 is your chance to do the same.

During this COVID-19 pandemic, stores and organizations throughout the community are closed and Earth Day 50th anniversary events around the country are cancelled, but you can still honor our Earth in significant ways from your home.

Here are few ideas to get you started: Clean up your yard or a neighborhood park. Use environmentally-friendly, non-toxic cleaning products. Make a donation to protect endangered species. Stop using single-use plastics. Donate old clothes and home goods. Receive and pay your bills online. Turn off the lights when you leave a room. Use cloth towels instead of paper ones. Take stairs instead of the elevator. Recycle batteries and electronics. Do eco-friendly activities with your kids. Start a garden.

In addition, you can learn about our current ecological challenges: climate change, deforestation and species extinction. Many resources are available online.

The world needs you—and your actions—for Earth Day. In return, Mother Nature offers something you likely need during this year’s unique circumstances.

Earth Day is a call to go outside. Change and uncertainty fill our days, yet nature gives us hope. The Earth continues to revolve, and spring continues to evolve—birds are singing, flowers are blooming, farmers are planting. Even with required social distancing, you can experience the benefits of the great outdoors. Spending time in nature significantly reduces stress and anxiety, improves mood, energy and sleep, and boosts the immune system.

When I was a little girl growing up on our family farm, I spent my free time nurturing our garden, exploring the woods, riding my bike, collecting rocks and bugs, climbing trees, admiring the clouds, watching birds, laying in the grass.

Like Earth Day, I turn 50 this year. There will be no party, no vacation get-away, no day at the spa. Instead, you’ll find me outside—in my garden, on a trail or in my kayak on a quiet lake. My special day will be spent enjoying the simple joys of life, just like when I was a kid, and celebrating our amazing natural world. I hope you’ll do the same.

Happy Birthday, Earth Day!

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