Earth Day 2020: Coming together, while staying apart

This week marks the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. And yes, it looks a bit different than expected. Yet, there are still several ways to celebrate this momentous occasion. We are here from afar, to help you find ways to connect with some of the timeless and powerful messages of Earth Day. We can still come together to protect and preserve natural ecosystems, building community and unity.

In an attempt to harness the unbelievable Earth Day energy that is normally bubbling out of stewardship events this time of year, we compiled a list of ways to still get involved – just a bit more locally and physically distant. Our goal is to carry this energy forward throughout the entire year!

  1. Help clean up your neighborhood with the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance. Have you been spending time exploring your local neighborhood more than ever? You may have noticed the blooming cherry blossoms, the unique architecture, or even bears hanging out in windows. Unfortunately, you may spot micro-trash and litter around as well. This week, join others (figuratively) in grabbing a trash bag, protective gloves, and your walking shoes for the Puget Soundkeeper’s Virtual Cleanup. Be sure to share your experience using #PSKVirtualCleanup.
  2. Cook a delicious vegetarian meal. Now is as good a time as ever to try a new veggie recipe! Eating a more plant-based diet, when possible, is one way to lower your individual impact on greenhouse gas emissions. Though one person’s actions may not lead to global change, many small actions can add up! Check out this NY times article that answer other questions about food and climate change.
  3. Phenology tracking. Speaking of blooms…tracking your local seasonal changes in plants and animals can be an excellent activity to do from home. Using a calendar, keep track of what you see and the date, and mark it down! Use your home kitchen calendar, an online calendar, or take it up a level and complete observation data sheets. Find out more from the National Phenology Network.
  4. Immerse yourself in a nature documentary. Take a deep dive into your favorite ecosystem, mammal, or check out Night on Earth on Netflix. There is plenty to be curious about, wherever you may be!
  5. Turn your next walk into a naturalist adventure. If you are new to the plant identification game, there are many online resources to help you answer some of your tree ID questions. The City of Seattle has Tree Walks available as PDF downloads for different Seattle neighborhoods. Or, you can take an up close picture of one of the unknown tree’s branches, and try the What Tree Is That online identification tool from the Arbor Day Foundation to easily identify trees, wherever you are.
  6. Volunteer…in the future! Make a personal pledge to volunteer with the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust. The trails, urban forests, and riparian corridors will undoubtedly need your help!

Using this time to promote passions for the outdoors and beyond, while staying safe and physically distant, can bring us to a welcomed sense of togetherness and positivity. And it is a true testament to what we here at the Greenway Trust believe most: when we are connected to nature, we are happier and healthier. We hope some of these ideas listed spark your Earth Day creativity and remind you, we are all in this together.

We want to give a special shout out to everyone we may have seen out stewarding the Greenway landscape this week: our partners at Duwamish Alive! Coalition, ECOSS, and the City of Issaquah, with whom we had to cancel some of our annual events that we look forward to each year; groups from companies like Boeing, Climate, the Mountaineers, Ookla, REI Co-Op, SanMar, and others. And, to everyone, we look forward to cherishing Earth Day throughout the year at volunteer and education events with you all in the future!

Happy Earth Week from the Greenway ?