Celebrating Earth Day is important even now
The 50th Earth Day comes during a pandemic. Howard County’s GreenFest was canceled, along with many other observances. Virtual celebrations are good but no substitute. Is this Earth Day a bust? For me, it’s more important than ever.
In the time of COVID-19 and staying home, nature is precious. I delight in touring our yard to spot new growth: the first teeny flowers on our paw paw; the once stick of a dogwood now a flowering teenage tree; the sedges, rushes and winterberries in our new rain garden revived after their first winter. The colors of spring uplift.
I’m grateful for the Howard County and Columbia paths that bring the woods to my home. A grove of jack-in-the-pulpits has popped up beside the Red Bandana path in Dorsey Hall where I live. On the Gwynn Acres path bordering the Little Patuxent River, the squat, aged, battered tulip poplar with record-setting girth is sprouting new leaves. But the invasive lesser celandine carpeting the woods with bright points of yellow flowers thrives as well. It’s strangled our early spring friends, the delicate white bloodroot and yellow trout lily. Spring beauties and violets struggle, too.
A tiny invisible virus has upended our lives in just a few months. What if the gradual but accelerating change in our climate upends our lives, too, by upsetting the very natural world that has been our solace through this pandemic?
Earth Day reminds us of our responsibility to be stewards of nature. I want nature to remain as rich for those that follow as it has been for me. That’s why in the midst of this horrific pandemic, I worry about climate change and why Earth Day is more relevant than ever.
The writer is a volunteer with Citizens Climate Lobby.