22nd April, 2021, was Earth Day
So, I thought it timely to write a few words and remind ourselves…
‘What a wonderful world’…we inhabit
Each ‘bright blessed day’ (to quote that great song), I’m grateful for our beautiful, diverse planet, filled with incredible creatures – us included.
During the pandemic I think we’ve all truly valued nature, our green spaces, being outdoors and the good it’s done us. There’s nothing like deprivation for appreciating what we’ve previously taken for granted. Certainly this has been true for me.
Nature takes care of us
Research shows that spending time in nature has mental health benefits, helping with problems of anxiety and depression. It can improve mood, self-esteem and confidence, decrease stress and anger, and relax us.
And being in the sun is beneficial, if you follow the necessary precautions. (As someone who’s had a brush with skin cancer, I strongly encourage you to protect yourself and avoid sunburn).
And if you walk, or do other exercise outside, you’ll be adding the physical health benefits. Meet up with others and these social connections will further contribute to your ageing better.
It’s our turn now
2021 is a key year for action on climate change and many would say not before time. For example, there was the USA’s global climate summit on Earth Day and Glasgow are hosting the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November.
‘There’s more to be seen than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done…‘From ‘The Circle of Life’ by Tim Rice & Elton John in The Lion King
Most of us know we need to and can take steps, however small, to help preserve our global home and its inhabitants. I’m increasingly aware I should be doing more. This was brought home to me very recently when I did the World Wildlife Fund’s environmental footprint quiz . I was surprised by my disappointing score.
I’m trying to do my bit
Most of our waste is recycled into almost as many multicoloured boxes as we have pieces of furniture. And I’m delighted to have discovered a chemist that recycles empty ‘blister’ pill packs – these used to fill up most of our wheelie bin!
I try to remember to turn off lights and the taps while brushing my teeth standing on one leg (for improving balance in case you’re wondering). I try not to overfill the kettle, nor leave the TV on standby.
Plastic bags are history, apart from the odd freezer and sandwich bag. Our huge collection of plastic bags, dating back longer than I care to admit, is put to good use in my constant war against moths. I don’t feel in the least benevolently disposed towards these creatures ravaging my jumpers, particularly as, so far, they seem to be winning our battles.
Relevant charities have had my support, including ‘adopting’ two manatees from ‘Save the Manatee’. Manatees are my favourite animal ever since I saw them up close and totally fell for them. Perhaps it’s something to do with their plus size, slow movement, friendly nature and whiskers? And they have such kind eyes.
We also gave up owning a car during the pandemic, although I confess, that was largely due to our Skoda being 19+ years old. Sadly it never got to enjoy a well deserved ‘retirement’, but at least it can be recycled.
In future, we’ll probably take more staycations and fly even less than pre-coronavirus. This is probably the biggest contribution we can make. Less air travel and my (and others) discovering more of what my own country has to offer, have been positive outcomes of this pandemic. Hopefully this will continue.
But there’s a limit!
But doing all we should, or could, is hard and, frankly, I’m not up for it. I don’t know about you, dear readers?
For example, this weekend in a newspaper, I read a Green Guide on how to be more eco in your home. It contains some admirable and achievable suggestions, such as banning single use plastic water bottles, never using wipes, and washing towels less often (I do – mainly through laziness). But I draw the line at making my own plant-based milk (or drinking it), giving up toothpaste that’s in a (plastic/metal) tube, stopping streaming video programmes, buying 96 eco brand loo rolls, or swopping to reusable toilet rolls! (I’ve done my time using terry cloth nappies – remember those? – and that experience, and smell, stay with me).
As I’ve found, giving back is as rewarding to the giver as the receiver; our earth needs our help and not just on one day a year. I will continue to do my best to follow Desmond Tutu’s inspiring advice…
…and maybe, if I try a bit harder, I’ll improve my score on the Footprint Quiz by Earth Day 2022!
Stay strong; stay safe; stay smiling.