How to Honor Earth Day

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it – Psalm 24:1

Today is Earth Day. In 1970, the first Earth Day mobilized 20 million Americans to greater care for our planet. Now the Earth Day organizers say they have one billion people committed to the environment and 75,000 business partners working to drive positive action. And there’s so much more work to be done.

I’ve never intentionally recognized Earth Day before. However, given the apocalyptic wildfires in the American West over the last several years – those smokey orange skies over our NorCal home felt eerily oppressive – and the recent unseasonable arctic freeze in Austin, Texas, I have become increasingly convinced of the truth regarding the terrible trajectory scientists claim we are on toward environmental collapse in 2030. On the one hand, that date looks like science fiction, but so did 2001 at one point. It’s only nine years from now.

So I made a list of easy ways we can love our planet well, today and moving forward:

Walk, bike, or carpool to work.

Take a phone call or meeting outside.

Enjoy a plant-forward picnic in a natural setting.

Go for a hike.

Plant something, or tend to your plants, or volunteer in a community garden.

Eat meatless for the day.

Sketch something from nature.

Spend 10 minutes making a list of observations about one natural object (you think you won’t be able to fill 10 minutes – surprise yourself).

Buy a book (or check one out from the library) that will help you fall deeper in love with nature. Suggestions: Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimerer, A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, Wild by Cheryl Strayed, anything by John Muir. (Please note: as an Amazon associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases).

Watch a nature documentary. Two I highly recommend (both on Netflix): My Octopus Teacher and A Life on Our Planet (by Sir David Attenborough whose voice, to my ear, sounds like Winnie the Pooh in the classic Disney movies – lovable!). My son recommends Seaspiracy, also on Netflix.

Educate yourself about environmental groups doing good work, like WWF, Sierra Club, or Plant with Purpose (our personal friend is CEO). Check out this list of organizations, or this water-focused list. Consider making a donation.

Take a picture of something in nature that brings you joy – a flower, a tree, an insect – and share it on your social media.

Follow the social media accounts of individuals and groups working to preserve the planet. Instagram suggestions: NatGeo, NatGeo Wild, Mitty, Paul Nicklen, Tim Lamen, and Joel Sartore

Purchase a book or print from The Photo Ark to beautify your home and support their continued work.

Cut down on paper towel use by using reusable and compostable kitchen towels.

Switch one of your plastic disposable goods for an eco-conscious and reusable alternative, like this toothpaste or these makeup removing towels.

Stick a bucket in your shower and use that water to water your plants.

Have a close encounter of the friendly animal kind (i.e., walk your dog or your neighbor’s dog, pet a cat, visit an animal shelter, watch squirrels rollercoaster-ing through trees).

Contact your state or national political representatives and ask them to support pro-environment legislation.

Do one or more actions from this list, then forward this post to others so they can join the fun.

What ideas do you have to share about loving our planet well? What next steps will you begin to take on this Earth Day and beyond?

“Creation is call and response. When Scripture speaks of mountains singing and trees clapping, it’s not just metaphorical. If our range of hearing were a little better, we would hear the voice of God in every drop of water, every blade of grass, every grain of sand.” – Mark Batterson, Whisper