Spring Cleaning 2020
By Maka Boeve
April 22, 2020 – the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day is also momentous in that it is six weeks or 43 days since the coronavirus was declared a global pandemic.
The Earth is literally moving less due to decreased human activity, according to seismologists, and everything figuratively has turned upside down. As people have slowed down, many are reflecting on what they used to take for granted.
The global economy is in a state of disarray, many businesses have come to a screeching halt, and people are fearfully sheltered in their homes. Sadly, the virus infection rate rises daily and the death toll is too daunting to comprehend.
Yet on this Earth Day, there appears to be a silver lining with all the global sickness. The planet itself is slowly healing. Fewer cars on the roads means less emissions. Closed factories allow for purer air. Less pollution equals cleaner water.
In an attempt to combat an invisible microscopic enemy, humans are spending an enormous amount of time stress cleaning. In the history of mankind, hands have never been this clean, junk drawers this organized or door knobs this sterile, and dust bunnies can now be listed as endangered species.
Mother Earth has also taken this spring cleaning to a serious deep level. Carbon footprints all over the world are swept up and reduced. Smog is lifted and shaken off in the valley of Los Angeles. Pollution clouds are aired out and blue skies are visible in India. The only honking sounds are those of migrating geese on their way home to Canada. Even the little nooks and crevices of the often garbage-ridden canals of Venice are clear enough to see the fish at the bottom.
Fifty years ago, the modern environmental movement was born. Earth Day began in 1970 to raise the public consciousness and to pressure world leaders to act on climate change.
Organizers for this year’s movement are doing the first digital Earth Day. According to their website, the committee is planning global platforms to mark this key anniversary.
“Our current pandemic demonstrates that governments must embrace science early. As we see now, many governments were slow to respond or even indifferent about the science of the coronavirus pandemic,” says Kathleen Rogers, president of the Earth Day Network. “But the last few weeks have also demonstrated that our society, even at an international level, is capable of mass shifts across all sectors to meet a crisis head-on.”
Climate action is the theme for Earth Day 2020. It is advertised that “one billion individuals will be mobilized for the future of the planet” and “75,000 partners in over 190 countries are working to drive positive action for the planet.” Rogers adds, “For Earth Day 2020, we will build a new generation of environmentalist activists, engaging millions of people worldwide.”
Life will hopefully eventually return to the hustle and bustle of everyday life. However, it would be prudent to learn the crystal clear 2020 lessons. Regulations and rules need to be implemented and enforced now so that Earth is not as disheveled and toxic. Everyone needs to collaborate and become engaged.
COVID-19 was a huge wake-up call for humanity on so many different levels. As the past few months have revealed, life-altering changes in behavior are possible and can have global implications. Earth is a sanctuary, not just for today, but for future generations.
Maka Boeve, owner of WaveMaker Consulting, LLC, is a freelance writer and educator in Rochester, MN.