June 5 is a day that offers a global platform for inspiring positive change across the world. Since established by the United Nations in 1972, this day is renowned for environmental action.
We can think of this day as the sister celebration to Earth Day—A chance to spread messages of respect and conservation for our shared home.
It’s easy to let the connection that binds us to our environment slip our minds. Having an international day to recognize our responsibility to protect it reminds us of this message, and allows us to view the world in terms of each individual nation as a global community.
We are given a chance to think about the way we consume. Businesses can push to develop greener models. Manufacturers are encouraged to produce more sustainably on this day. Governments are urged to safeguard wild spaces. Educators use this day to inspire students to live in harmony with the earth. These students will be the fierce gatekeepers of a green future for generations to come.
The theme for World Environment Day 2020 is “Biodiversity”. The idea of biodiversity encompasses all the different species on the planet—all 8 million to be exact. From plants and animals to fungi and bacteria, we all share an ecosystem that can be looked at as an intricate web in which we all act as an interdependent part.
As we know, our world is in the midst of a global disease pandemic as COVID-19 spreads all around the globe. This creates the need for an urgent call to action when it comes to understanding and taking care to acknowledge biodiversity and how every separate part of the web affects the others.
World Environment Day is the perfect time to use this year’s hardships as a learning and teaching moment. To look upon the issues and see the big picture of biodiversity will help us to all underscore the fact that we are intimately connected with nature. To protect ourselves from the spread of pathogens like Coronavirus, we must protect the environment.
Every time you choose to turn off the lights when you leave the room, reduce food waste, recycle, make attempts to use less plastic, shop locally, plant your own herbs or vegetables, or decide to use eco-friendly alternatives in your everyday life, you are making a difference.
Every single positive change we make is one that pushes us toward a healthier, safer world. If everyone made one small effort every day, like switching to LED lightbulbs in our home, our environment would thank us in return. Maybe in ways we cannot see, but in ways that would benefit the intricate web that we all have a place in.
May is National Bike Month and also host to Bike to Work Day, always held on the third Friday of the month, May 15th. Since many of us may not be going back to work until after May 15th we can still find other ways to get in the spirit and bike essentially or non-essentially. Let’s explore!
Bike to Work Day was first introduced as a way to help commuters understand that they don't have to drive their cars to work. They can save money and the environment by biking to work instead. May is the perfect month to hold the event. It’s when the weather finally starts to get nice in many parts of our country. It's the first real sign of spring and people really want to get outside This year you may not be "commuting" to the office every day, but instead grabbing a cup of coffee and "telecommuting" from your home office due to the stay at home mandates. Or maybe you are an essential worker and you are going into work, but you no longer feel safe taking public transit so you are driving solo instead.
Let’s dust off the old bike and start off small if you have not been on your bike in a while. You will want to build up your endurance first. Right now, more than ever, exercise and getting outside is needed. It not only helps with your physical health, but your mental health as well. Studies show that people who exercise regularly show improved mental health, self-esteem and less physical pain because of the endorphins your body creates when you exercise. Ever notice how much better you feel after you get some exercise? You are almost always more positive and energized after a good workout. Below are some ideas to help you get started:
1: If you are still going to the office, go online before you get on your bike.
Search ‘bike to work’ or ‘bike routes’ and add your city or town. You’ll discover some great resources for everything there is to know about biking to work. Depending on the length of your commute, you may be able to bike the entire route. And if the mileage is in the double digits, remember start small. You can possibly drive your bike to a commuter lot and start with biking just a portion of it. Any small amount can make a difference.
2: Make sure you and your bike are good to go.
If you and your bike have had recent check-ups, then you’re all set. If not, remember the rule of thumb. Talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program. And make sure your bike is in good working order. Check the tires, brakes, and always make sure you ride with a good bike helmet. And don’t forget the water to stay hydrated, helmet and mask to stay safe!
3: If you are telecommuting, go online and find some virtual "bike to work" events.
Social media is great place to start with searching for virtual bike to work events. You can register for one or many of the events you find. Some examples are; virtual "Coffee And's..." where you share your commute story, what you're eating for breakfast, or just join to socialize with fellow bike commuters. Others offer ideas like if you’re still commuting daily to a place of business, ride and share the favorite part of your journey. If you are continuing to work at home, ride and share your favorite part of your neighborhood. Whatever it is that you find works and helps you to stay involved with the day will work for the many virtual events available out there.
Just realize, no matter what you decide to do to still participate in Bike to Work day in May, remember one thing, when you bike, you’re not just working out, you’re exercising your mind, your body plus your right to save money and the environment.
Fiftieth anniversary celebrations of Earth Day on April 22nd will certainly look a lot different this year. But despite the coronavirus pandemic, there is still much to celebrate. For reasons we would not have chosen, most of us are giving Earth a chance to renew. Due to global stay-at-home orders, we have significantly reduced air pollution as a direct result of decreased, if not obsolete, traffic congestion. And in so many other ways, we are saying thank you to Mother Earth daily, probably without even realizing it.
Perhaps you have been outside for a walk more than you would have before the sudden halt in society. Or your family is enjoying hiking and biking more frequently. You go on nature walks to escape the confined walls and explore more intently. And with these new or more frequent activities, we notice the birds are louder and our sense of smell is greater; we are breathing deeper and letting the breeze touch us instead of looking away afraid of a bad hair day, saying, “Thank you Earth. We respect you.”
Without even realizing it, you may already be celebrating Earth Day 2020 in your own ways. But what could be a longer lasting thank-you to Earth, is that once the coronavirus pandemic is behind us, we continue to say thank you and appreciate Mother Earth in all the same ways.
Here are some other ways you can celebrate Earth Day, April 22, 2020 virtually:
People in Virginia reported seeing a Ford van driving around completely autonomously. This regular looking van didn’t sport any large sensors or cameras, nor did it appear to have a human driver behind the wheel as it cruised through regularly trafficked streets. Joke’s on the onlookers though, because the car was not autonomous at all. In fact, there was actually a human driver controlling the vehicle. He went unnoticed, however, because he was dressed as a car seat! It appears the stunt is part of an experiment being conducted about how people interact with autonomous vehicles on the road. Personally, I’d probably just start taking a video.
The holidays are upon us. Halloween just passed. Thanksgiving is right around the corner. And immediately following Thanksgiving is the retail holiday of Black Friday. People everywhere flock to retail stores early Friday morning after Thanksgiving, or some people even queue up Thanksgiving night in order to get large discounts on consumer goods. That simply won’t do for one man in Texas, however. In an effort to ensure he receives Best Buy’s Black Friday deals this year, he set up a tent and got in line seventeen days early. That’s right. Seventeen days of camping outside of a Best Buy. They do usually have pretty good deals, but that’s a whole other level of FOMO.