Season on Flourishing – Earth Week

This is week five of the Season on Flourishing.

Wednesday is Earth Day, so this week we reflect on our place in nature and our relationship to the earth itself. We humans often act as though we were separate from and above the natural world of plants and non-human animals. We act as though our concerns were radically different from those of the rest of nature. In reality, of course, we are very much a part of that world. We are special, we are different in many ways, but many more are the ways in which we are the same. Many more are the ways in which our fate is bound up with the fate of the earth we live on. For our own sake as well as that of the rest of nature, we must use the power we have over our environment well.

● Watch the official Earth Day Network educational videos and do the associated activities.  These are great to do with your children, but they can be engaging at any age. For a more in-depth perspective, take this fantastic online course in environmental science.

● Read Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. This book about the dangers of pesticides is a classic of the early environmental movement. Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction is another interesting book detailing the often disastrous effect that we humans often have upon our environment.

● Watch An Inconvenient Truth. This famous documentary about global warming has won numerous awards and has been credited with re-energizing the environmental movement.

● Go be in nature. Go hiking, have a picnic, do whatever it is that will get you out into as much wild as you can find. Appreciate that experience. Be mindful of it. Turn your attention to the wind as it blows through the trees, to the grass beneath your feet. Revel in the peace and serenity of the glade and the breathtaking majesty of the mountain.

● Gather berries and edible plants (make sure they are safe to eat first). Go hunting if you have a permit. Make a feast out of nature’s bounty.

● Watch “Planet Earth” the miniseries. This amazing BBC documentary is visually stunning and offers a fascinating look at the biodiversity of our planet.

● Join or start an official Earth Day event. While you’re looking into that, check out the rest of the Earth Day website. It has a wealth of other stuff, from t-shirts to twitter handles, to help you observe the holiday.

● Observe the holiday by observing plants blooming! Moreover, you can participate in democratized science! Project Budburst and Nature’s Notebook are two really cool projects which use lay observers to track important environmental changes.

Plant a tree. Nothing says you care about the future of our planet like making the long-term investment in air quality that is a tree.

● Buy a high-efficiency appliance to cut down on your energy usage.

● Donate to the Earth Day Network or the Natural Resources Defense Council. These organizations are doing important work which is worth supporting.

● On the political front, sign the Earth Day Network petition urging political leaders to phase out carbon pollution. More importantly, think about the environment when making political choices. The people we elect in the coming years will have a huge impact on the environmental policies of our nations. Make sure that you vote for someone who takes that responsibility seriously.

Have other ideas for how to celebrate Earth Week? Let us know!

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