As some of you may know, yesterday (June 5th) was World Environment Day. This day is internationally known as a day to spread awareness about the wellbeing of our environment, encourage us all to participate in protecting this planet, and form plans for the present and future to help us all alleviate global environmental problems as a worldwide community. It's largely a special day for environmental organizations, supportive communities, celebrities, and government officials to come forward and advocate for environmental issues such as pollution, global warning, and more.
This year, a lot of amazing information was shared about what we can do to contribute to this wonderful cause and exactly how we can make a difference in this world in an effort to save our sickened environment. Each year, this special day has a different theme that gives us a call to action. Yesterday we learned that the theme for 2017's World Environment Day was "Connecting People to Nature," and I think that's a great place to start the conversation about what we can do to help heal and save our environment.
1. Connect Yourself to Nature
This year's theme encourages us all to get outside and immerse ourselves in nature so that we can appreciate its beauty and wonder. It also helps us understand what we're fighting for! I see this as the first step to positive change; we must first see, enjoy, and understand the value of what we want to save in order to protect it. Visit the World Environment Day website to learn more about this year's theme and the value of nature.
2. Chose to live an eco-friendly lifestyle.
Start with a clean slate today and choose sustainability for your new way of life! If you want to help save the environment, the change starts with YOU. This means change the way you use energy, change the way you shop for groceries, change the way you buy products for your home, and maybe even change some of your daily habits like choosing to bike instead of driving two miles. To go into more detail, you might consider ensuring your home decor such as lights and water fountains are solar powered.
You might consider shopping at the local farmer's market every other weekend, and may even consider using all natural cleaning products in your home as opposed to those nasty chemicals that invade the air. These are just a few simple suggestions to help you live more sustainably! Oh, and don't forget about the importance of recycling!
3. Get involved at a local community garden.
Joining a community that helps produce seasonal crops is a wonderful step towards sustainability. Even if your community doesn't have much space to work with and can only afford to grow a few rows of carrots and herbs, it's a step in the right direction. Plus, isn't being able to feed yourself and your community via your crop produce something to be proud of? You could even learn to create your own garden sprays that are non toxic and chemical free!
4. Go all natural in your home.
From cleaning products to shampoo to laundry detergent, it's super important to use the most natural and organic products possible for our bodies and for the environment. The chemicals put into most of the cleaning products on shelves today are harmful to our skin, lungs, and the ozone! It's impossible to stay completely away from it all since these products are all around us and extremely accessible, but making your own laundry detergent could be a brilliant start!
5. Organize educational events.
It's your job to get the community talking about the environment. As the famous political quote goes, "if not us, who? If not now, when?" So I ask you, if you don't take action to organize even the smallest event to raise awareness about hot topics like global warming, then who will? If you don't do it now, then when would you?
Here's a simple event idea that doesn't require much time or effort: a tree planting hour. Invite members of your community to join in a park, backyard, or other other outdoor space for just an hour to plant trees. Everyone could bring their own to plant, or you could provide, either way works and offers an opportunity for you all to meet and discuss important enviornmental issues! It's your time to shine and motivate others!
6. Take it to social media.
There are essentially two key reasons we have World Environment Day: to raise awareness about the environmental issues that happening right outside our doors as well as around the world, and to take action to change it while encouraging others to help and join us in this mission. Social media is a wonderful way to spread awareness about anything, so why not spread news about the environment and all the help it needs?
If you see and article about the growing pollution in our lakes, rivers, and oceans, share it and explain why it's important we all open our eyes and truly and understand the issue. Create message groups on Facebook to encourage an open discussion about these issues, or use it to make events like the tree planting one mentioned before so that you can easily invite people! Social media is the gateway to open discussion and is a great way to share your thoughts about the environment to multiple people at one time! After all, this is a worldwide issue. We should be speaking to people around the world about this and social media allows us to do just that.
7. Research. Explore. Volunteer.
Thankfully, PBS has provided us with this lovely list of environmental organizations that work tirelessly to protect our ecosystems of all kinds all over the world. The list contains anything from wildlife protection to conservation of ocean ecosystem organizations to organic farming companies. All organizations on this list give us important information about what we can go, how they help and how we can contribute to their cause, and even details on where we can volunteer to be apart of healing, preserving, and protecting this earth.
8. LOVE the earth.
This list could go on and on and reach 100 if I wanted to, but overall the message of World Environment Day is simple and clear: love the earth. A lot of things we can do to love the earth are simple and really just common sense, such as not littering, using a small amount of water when brushing our teeth, and car pooling as much as possible. Other ways we can help protect the environment are a bit more complicated, and certainly require a ton of work and effort. But everything starts with small steps, and as long as we keep our love for the earth as our foundation, we are sure to make a significant difference individually, in our community, or perhaps one day worldwide!