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April 20, 2020

Earth Day is an excellent opportunity to take a moment to reflect on how we live on our planet and to celebrate this fantastic place we call home. Usually a day filled with community events, beach cleanups or festivals, this year things are a bit different. There is nothing I would rather do than celebrate by taking a trip to the woods, cleaning up some trash, and spending a night outside under the stars. However, even though that will have to wait, there are plenty of ways to get involved and feel connected this Earth Day. 

First, a bit of history. On April 22, 1970, nearly 20 million Americans took to the streets, demanding a cleaner environment and brighter tomorrow for future generations, and Earth Day was born. The changes that followed were significant; the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts were signed into law. The EPA was created to ensure that the health and safety of our fellow citizens came above all else. Today, as we adjust to our new nothing-but-normal, we find fascinating examples of environmental recovery as a serendipitous result of the slowed pace of daily life for humans. 

One of the most striking examples is the lifting of the thick, acrid and toxic smog obscuring views from India and Pakistan of the most impressive, magnificent, and massive mountain range on the planet — the Himalayas. Imagine living your entire life in Denver and never seeing the Rockies standing guard over the eastern plains, or not being able to see the Cascade Volcanoes from coffee-soaked Seattle.

Much like the first pictures taken of Earth from space, these newly revealed vistas offer a reminder that as much as the health of our planet depends on the actions we take, it also depends on the actions we don't take: the carbon we don't emit, the trash we don't litter, the miles we don't drive, and so on. Obscured views, dirty air, polluted water; these are all realities for many places around the globe without the environmental protections we enjoy.

April 22 is the day we collectively celebrate our planet's beauty — after all, it's the only one we know of in the universe like it. This year marks Earth Day's 50th anniversary with the theme "Climate Action," but it's good to remember that every day is Earth Day, and a day for action. We can't march in the streets this year, but we're united through our shared struggles. Dr. Seuss summed it up best when he said, "When something bad happens you have three choices. You can either let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you." 

It can feel like there's a lot of bad things happening right now, but it's critical to step back from time to time to remember and see all the good that still exists. We'll come out stronger than ever before, and what better way to start than by doing something this Earth Day to protect and restore our planet. From digital events to ways to live more sustainably, there is something for everyone, and you can only binge-watch whatever your favorite series is so long before you hate it forever. So, check out the events online, and make a commitment to make every day Earth Day this year, starting April 22. 

For more information on how you can connect digitally with the rest of the globe and steps you can take right now for a better tomorrow, visit www.earthday.org.


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