In times of trouble throughout human history, people have sought refuge and solace in the embrace of nature. During this pandemic, participation in almost every kind of outdoor leisure activity is at record highs, with people buying skis, surfboards, roller skates, and more faster than the shelves can be stocked. Maybe it’s no surprise that at a time when we were forced to feel so disconnected from one another, we all wanted to reach out for the one thing that we know we have in common: the earth, our home. Feeling the fresh ground beneath your feet and breathing clean air is an invigorating experience, the kind of privilege that can save our sanity over and over again during tough times. For Earth Day this year, we want to recognize that this gift of connection the earth gives us is worthy of being protected and restored. We want to give the gift of nature with our Earth Day Care Package, and our #PPRestoreOurEarth Instagram Challenge where we’re planting up to 500 trees!
Renewed enthusiasm for exploring the outdoors and appreciating its splendor is a cause for celebration, as much as it is a cause for caution. We hope that it will be the inspiration people need to take up the cause of restoring our earth, which happens to be the theme of this month’s Earth Day. The threat of climate change and ecosystem collapse becomes ever more potent as we put the planet under the strain of travel, and the pandemic provided it with a rare break in that regard — how can we use the momentum of the current moment to change our relationship with how we travel forever?
Before the planet was able to take a breather at the onset of the pandemic, the burden of our relentless travel and exchange of goods was immense, and driving many delicate ecosystems to the point of collapse. Responsible travelers, climate activists, and anyone paying attention know that the way we’ve been living for quite some time is unsustainable in the long term, and risks damaging the home that we share beyond recognition. While we all want a return to normal, and to travel, as soon as possible — because we value the power of human connection more than ever at times like this — we should also want to pause and think about how to change our habits to live in more intentional coexistence with the earth, restoring it and returning the favors that it gives to us.
A relationship of reciprocity has to start with understanding, and reestablishing our personal and community relationships with the earth means getting a bit more curious. We believe that this can be really fun — instead of focusing on the big picture, which looks so ominous and overwhelming, we want to focus on the small and specific actions you can take on Earth Day this year to feel a little closer to something, and a little bit less of that “species loneliness.”
With that in mind, here is the Earth Day Care Package, a collection of recommendations from our team with books, podcasts, films, and activities that will provide a dose of care, context, and loving kindness this week. Thank you to our community for your recommendations, many of which you can find below! Happy Earth Day.
Photographers/Sustainability Advocates/Important Accounts:
Bare Necessities Zero Waste (from @thiszefa)
Intersectional Environmentalist (from @bismims)
Regenerative Travel (from @michospino)
Euny and Burke (from @mmarisoll)
Mario Rigby (Melanie Hamilton, Editorial)
So Hot Right Now – “I know there are tons of great pods out there about climate issues, but this one I strongly recommend. It’s informal, funny and straightforward without lacking on the seriousness of climate change.” Melanie Hamilton, Editorial
Our Nature – “I really recommend the episode with photographer Molly Steele, whose aesthetic has very much been developed alongside and inspired by her relationship with the natural world as both a traveler and an activist. Altogether, this podcast is a great repository for ideas about how to deepen one’s personal connection with a force as huge and foreboding as nature.” Joseph Ozment, Editorial
Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer – “If you feel hopeless about the climate crisis, this is the first book I think you should read. At a time when everyone is desperate for big solutions to existential problems, this is a manifesto for loving the earth, interwoven with amazing scientific insight and the indigenous wisdom of the tradition and community to which its author belongs.” Joseph Ozment, Editorial
No One Is Too Small To Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg
Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall
How to Give Up Plastic by Will McCallum
All We Can Save by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkerson, editors
Blue Mind by Wallace J Nichols
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond
David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet
The Year Earth Changed (Apple TV) – “Also narrated by David Attenborough, this documentary spans five continents and shows never-before-seen ways, big and small, that the Earth changed over the course of a year we spent in lockdown.” Melanie Hamilton, Editorial
50 Minutes to Save the World by Amir Zakeri
“Carve out time to take a hike, or even just a walk around your neighborhood, and bring a bag for trash found along the way!” Melanie Hamilton, Editorial
“Better yet, challenge a group of friends to do this in their cities and make it fun with a competition for the weirdest piece of trash you find. My most recent oddity was a DVD of the Eddie Murphy Movie, Daddy Day Care.” Joseph Ozment, Editorial
“Get crafty and make a bird feeder from recycled materials like milk cartons and pine cone, or build a planter box that fits whatever space you have and get that green thumb going!” Melanie Hamilton, Editorial
“Start composting with ease and more importantly, without any odor, by using this handy guide from the Chicago Food Policy Action Council. My girlfriend and I used this charcoal and it really works, household compost with no smell!” Joseph Ozment, Editorial
“Treat yourself to a sustainable dinner sourced from your local farmer’s market, while tuning into Nat Geo’s virtual celebrations.” Melanie Hamilton, Editorial