At a time when our planet needs it most, let’s take the lessons from today and start treating everyday likes it’s Earth Day.
by Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center | April 22, 2020
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, an annual event celebrated around the world on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. This important holiday started in 1970 with 20 million Americans protesting environmental degradation and demanding a new way forward for our planet. That occasion, which is widely regarded as launching the modern environmental movement, also paved the way for the widespread recognition of environmental education as an essential tool to address global environmental problems.
The theme for Earth Day 2020 is climate action. As noted by the Earth Day Network, a nonprofit whose mission is to diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide: “Climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable.” At Eagle Bluff, we believe that the foundation of climate action is education – especially education that involves hands-on experiences in nature. As scientist and author Scott D. Sampson writes in his book How to Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature,
“Most of the external tools needed to set humanity on a new path—knowledge, technologies, and wealth—are already available. Yet our response remains glacial relative to the urgent need for action. The most crucial unresolved sustainability issues, then, is a matter of mind and education rather than science and technology.“
Founded in 1978, Eagle Bluff has existed for 42 of the 50 Earth Day celebrations. This year’s, however, will be different from all the others because so many environmental learning centers, including Eagle Bluff, are closed due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. The environmental education that is so important for providing connections to the natural world, encouraging conservation, and inspiring stewardship has grinded to a halt for so many children who need it most. But although we may be closed, nature is not. We encourage you to find time today to take a walk outside or begin a gardening project. This is also a great time of the year to observe birds, look for seasonal plants, or pick up litter around your neighborhood or road. Despite all of the differences of the people on earth, nature has the power to be a great unifier and joining together in pursuit of a happier, healthier planet for all should be priority one this Earth Day (and everyday).
And even if you can’t visit a park or local nature center, there are still ways to experience the wonder of the natural world without leaving your residence. Consider watching an environmentally focused movie or documentary; there are many excellent choices available on streaming platforms. You can also listen to sounds of nature or view nature imagery which has been shown to reduce stress, help us relax, and or improve our mood. The Earth Day network is even holding digital celebrations and calls to action, which you can take part in at https://www.earthday.org/campaign/digital-earth-day. While there is no substitute for being outdoors, during these times of sheltering in place it’s important to do whatever you can to bring nature into your life.
We look forward to the days in the hopefully not-to-distance future where we are able to once again host children and families back on our campus for transformative educational programming and hands-on experiences in nature. In the meantime, this Earth Day we hope you will find whatever ways you can to be empowered to care for the earth and each other. At a time when our planet needs it most, we need to take the lessons from today and start treating everyday like it’s Earth Day.