Today we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day! In the years past, this day has been celebrated with various community events. Activities that bring us together in celebration of our beautiful planet. However, as we know all too well, this year is anything but normal. Despite the shelter in place this year, we can still celebrate this important and special day. Here are three creative ways to celebrate Earth Day this week, from the comfort of your home this year.
Join the Big Sur Marathon Foundation – Just Run!
The Big Sure Marathon is an annual favorite tradition of many locals. The run is canceled this year. Therefore, they have founded this youth program. Just Run is a local youth fitness program developed by the Big Sur Marathon Foundation. They are now offering a free at-home fitness program. It aids and supports children and parents in getting physical activity at home. This program encourages parents to keep track of miles run or walked by their children and submit these miles to the Just Run website.
While adhering to local health mandates and shelter-in-place orders, parents and their kids can still get some physical activity. Furthermore, get activity in and have a fun way to earn rewards for this activity and keep each other accountable. This is also a fun way to get grandparents and family friends involved in physical activity. Work to match each other’s miles logged in your own towns and cities. It is also a great way to get outside this week. Enjoy some sunshine, and take in the beauty of our Earth.
Keep in Touch With Your Community
One of our favorite parts of celebrating Earth Day is community events. Coming together in the sunlight and the fresh air. Enjoying good food and joining a constructive activity to celebrate our beautiful planet. With all in-person events canceled this Spring, many people are engaging in video chats, social media sites, and even virtual dinner parties and BBQs on forums like Skype or Zoom. However, there is a large portion of our community that is uncomfortable engaging in these computer-based activities. Furthermore, many people don’t have access to join them.
Local Aptos resident, Nicola Balmain has come up with a great solution for this very issue that we can all take part in. Nicola, with help from her neighbors and other community members, has put together a chat-style phone line. Using Grasshopper, Nicola and her team have come up with a secure and easy way for anyone in our community to find someone to chat with. “The way I’ve been explaining it to people is it’s like having a coffee shop chitchat with your neighbors, but we’re just making that available via the phone,” Balmain said.
“The concept is people, they’re confined to their home, they’re in isolation. They’re not getting out. I live in a neighborhood where we would pop down to the coffee shop each morning to walk our dog and we’ve kind of befriended several elderly in our neighborhood. They look forward to that kind of check-in every day. That was kind of the principle behind it — gosh, they must be really feeling challenged without that socialization.”
Loneliness can be a dangerous thing for the mind, body, and spirit. Therefore, finding a way to keep our community engaged and helping to cure lonliness is a great way to connect as a community for Earth Day. The check-in and chat phone line is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, at 888-278-6704. Give this number a call if you are feeling lonely or just want to chat with someone today.
Get Outside and Do Some Earth Day Activities!
This week Santa Cruz has blessed us with some great weather for our Earth Day celebrations. With a week full of temperatures in the 70s and blue skies, the outdoors have never been so inviting! So, take this as an opportunity to get outside in your very own yard and celebrate Earth Day. Whether you have children at home with you or not, here are some fun and creative ways to enjoy your very own slice of the outdoors this week.
- Garden! Whether it is planting flower seeds, getting around to that vegetable garden you’ve been talking about for years. Even just pulling weeds around your patio. Get outside and into your garden!
- Do a scavenger hunt! Whether walking your neighborhood or just your yard. Come up with 10 things you want to find on your scavenger hunt and find them. These things can be simple: a pinecone, an earthworm, a four-leaf clover, or a blue jay. Make a realistic but challenging list, and mark them off one by one. See how long it takes you and enjoy our great outdoors for every minute of your hunt.
- Nature Belts?! Have you ever heard of a nature belt? Have you ever worn one? These fun crafts are a lot of fun to create and require some hunting and gathering to do so. How We Learn has come up with this clever activity where you simply wrap a piece of duct tape around your child’s waist, or your own, sticky side out, and then get to walking. On your nature walk, as you find treasures you stick them on your nature belt. Before you know it you will have a beautiful belt made up of pebbles, flowers, leaves, and maybe even a penny or two!
In addition to the above recommendations, there are hundreds of companies and websites offering live streaming events for Earth Day this week. Everything from a National Geographic neighborhood safari tour to live science lessons from NASA can be found online this week.
We hope you can all find a little time this week to get some fresh air, enjoy some sunshine, and take in the beauty that is around us everywhere on this Earth – even the beauty in our very own yards.