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Celebrate Earth Day: Another Way of Acting Together to Achieve Mutual Benefit

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In light of our human challenge in dealing with COVID-19, the slogan “Think Globally, Act Locally” takes on significant new meaning. Media articles, ranging from the Washington Post to the New Zealand Herald, have reported on improved air quality as we shelter-in-place. Satellite data in March confirmed reduced nitrogen oxides in the air above Spain. Reports from China to Italy bear out the same results.

It’s clear that the behavior of each individual has an enormous cumulative effect. So, why not take this collective action one step further?

Earth Day is Wednesday, April 22, 2020. As you work from home, school your children at the kitchen table, or venture out for an essential activity, Tuolumne County Master Gardeners offer the following suggestions for celebrating Earth Day on the 22nd and every day after that.

Choose Hope and Invest in the Community. According to Earth911.com, (https://earth911.com/living-well-being/climate-change-covid-19-sensational-news/), we may not be able to control our circumstances or the sensational news, but we can control our response. Choose an activity to do with members of your household or take a walk to view spring flowers. Go on a scavenger hunt in the backyard with your children and look for insect eggs. Identify them using images from the Internet.

Earth911.com offers excellent articles about home schooling children during this time, advice about recycling used disposable gloves (yes, it can be done) and how to cut down on paper waste. Check out the “5 Simple Earth Day Crafts Your Kids Will Love” or how to create an earth-friendly meal. And why not support your local favorite restaurant by ordering a take-out meal to celebrate Earth Day? Some restaurants already package take-out items in paper and aluminum foil to reduce the use of polystyrene foam.

Dispose of household hazardous waste and polystyrene foam (hopefully, master gardeners will be able to collect it in June – stay tuned for details). Plant a tree to celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day, all at the same time. Create a compost pile to keep your green waste out of the waste stream. Replace an old light bulb with an LED one. Remove an invasive plant and plant a California native in its place. Congratulate yourself for saving gas by driving less. In conclusion, if there’s anything that COVID-19 has taught us, it’s that the small individual actions of many people create a community-wide and worldwide positive impact. Let’s do more of that!

Rebecca Miller-Cripps is a University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardener of Tuolumne County.

UCCE Master Gardeners of Tuolumne County can answer home gardening questions. Call 209-533-5912 or fill out our easy-to-use problem questionnaire. Check out our UCCE Master Gardener website. You can also find us on Facebook.

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