GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Cooped up inside during the novel coronavirus quarantine? Go for a walk. As you amble outside your home, bear in mind the effort required to preserve the beauty around you, says a UF/IFAS Extension regional sustainability agent.
That message from Ramona Madhosingh-Hector resonates, especially as we near April 22, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. This year, Earth Day emphasizes climate change, which can impact our environment and, ultimately, our mental and physical health, says Madhosingh-Hector, a UF/IFAS Extension agent for the UF/IFAS Extension Southwest District.
We can take a cue from the Earth Day theme and look after ourselves and our environment, she said.
“As we are confined mostly to our homes, many folks are going outdoors for the natural beauty and peaceful solitude,” Madhosingh-Hector said. “That highlights how important our natural resources are. Protection of natural resources connects to climate change. If we are not protecting our resources for the future, we risk losing these valuable places of retreat. Sustainability is all about resources for the present and future generations.”
“Folks who are home due to COVID but can still manage food waste, conserve energy, engage in civic action, build connections and live sustainably,” she said.
The enormous challenge – but also the vast opportunities – of action on climate change have made it the most pressing topic for the 50th anniversary, according to the Earth Day website.
For Earth Day, Madhosingh-Hector urges everyone to use the Sustainable Development Goals of the U.N. as a blueprint to promote environmentally positive actions.
“On the 50th anniversary, challenge yourself to become a bigger risk-taker for the environment – use your car less often, manage your eco-footprint and volunteer in your community,” she said. “Show your support by participating in virtual events, online challenges and personal pledges.”
“Most of all, remember that it isn’t just a one-time event or activity that will protect Earth,” Madhosingh-Hector said. “We all need to develop an ethic of stewardship.”
Here are some activities in which UF/IFAS is participating in this year’s Earth Day:
- Florida 4-H: Teens from Florida 4-H Pinellas County – and neighboring counties — will use Zoom to work with their colleagues in Puerto Rico to identify solutions to environmental problems facing Florida and Puerto Rico. They will also develop a plan to address the current issues. 4-H members also will engage in a Climate Challenge trivia game.
- UF/IFAS Extension Pinellas County offers many virtual events for Earth Day.
- Florida Sea Grant agents are starting a Bite-Sized Science webinar series the week of Earth Day — starting April 20 — and going through May.
- Check your local Extension website and social media platforms for online events and action lists that focus on Earth Day.
–Brad Buck, UF/IFAS