The Wildflower Meadow, Gibson Street, Glasgow University, Scotland. Sown from seed in an old garden plot. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0

Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.

Albert Einstein

IT is Earth Day today, the 52nd such day in fact, the first being held on April 22, 1970, when about 20 million Americans joined in a grassroots demonstration. Now it is a worldwide annual event which both raises awareness of the need to protect our earth’s natural resources and honours the achievements of the environmental movement.

The theme for Earth Day 2022 is ‘Invest in Our Planet’. The Earth Day website states, “This is the moment to change it all – the business climate, the political climate, and how we take action.”

“Now is the time for the unstoppable courage to preserve and protect our health, our families, our livelihoods,” they state. We have seen such courage recently, taken by XR, where activists blocked roads in London and glued themselves to and sat on top of trains on London’s Docklands Light Railway, glued themselves to the entrance of the London Stock Exchange and marched on Heathrow Airport. People from all walks of life, including families, joined in the protests hoping to bring attention to the very real environmental crisis we face.

Be involved

But you can be involved in Earth Day without the need to actively protest if that’s not your cup of tea. One way is to donate your time to plant trees.

Earth Day says: “Our planting locations are selected to have a direct and positive impact on areas affected by climate change. We work hard to ensure our programmes also benefit the people and communities who live near the new trees, and often plant tree species that produce fruit, nuts, or other resources that help people.

“Our projects typically include the growing of saplings in nurseries for 6-12 months before planting, as well as pruning and maintenance of trees for the first couple of years of their lives. This helps us maximise the number of trees that survive to maturity. In most cases, nursery and maintenance staff are local workers who gain valuable skills that help them serve as responsible stewards of the restored habitat.”

Start at home

If you have little free time, you can still do so much in your own home and neighbourhood. Growing the right plants in your garden – or even on your windowsill – will attract butterflies, bees, and birds. Some people, and I did this when I had a large garden, have let wildflowers take over what was previously their lawn. It’s not only attractive to see cornflowers, poppies, milkweed, goldenrod and asters growing in abundance, but you know you are helping save creatures which our ecosystem depends on.

On your daily walk, or just a walk to the shops, take a bag with you to collect any plastic rubbish you may see on the streets. We don’t need plastic, and it can be a danger to so many animals. Takes no time at all and you know you’ve done some good.

A huge way to help is to stop using pesticides and chemicals in your garden – if you still do. For greenfly, I always used a soap and water mixture which I sprayed on and it certainly did the trick. But allowing some bugs in your garden can definitely be a good thing; ladybugs for example, which not only look gorgeous, but can eat up to 40 aphids per hour! A variety of plants will attract a wide range of insects. Many insects beneficial to your garden will appear before the pests do and need alternative food sources such as pollen and nectar if they are to stick around. So, again, plant flowers which will attract them.

Every garden needs water, but the way you use that water and where you get it from will also help. Don’t water from above, water directly into the soil – although if you have the aforementioned wildflower garden that can be difficult. You can though, lay your hose running through it with holes cut in it if you cannot afford a proper irrigation system. This will ensure the water goes into the soil. And if possible put a tub or even a collection of buckets outside to catch rainwater.

There are so many ways in which we can help our planet if we just take a little time to think about it. The Earth Day website has fascinating ideas and stories from around the world.

Don’t sit back!  Be a part of the change we so urgently need.

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