Celebrating Earth Day Meaningfully in the Time of Coronavirus: Five Ways to Give Back to Mother Earth

As the 50th year of the Earth Day is observed on April 22, an environmental health organization has put forward five ways by which Filipinos from all walks of life can help to address both the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the climate crisis.

“There are many practical ways that we can help Mother Earth heals from waste, pollution and destruction while we struggle to control and beat the dreaded new coronavirus,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Like the acts of kindness and solidarity that we’ve been seeing throughout the COVID-19 lockdown, the small and big changes that we make in the way we treat, care for and defend our environment have the potential of spreading on a large scale starting with our families and communities,” she said.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a non-profit organization working for a zero waste and toxics-free society, cited five ways to give back to Mother Earth amid the COVID-19 upsurge and the climate crisis.

“Embracing these earth-friendly ways will help reduce your carbon footprint while protecting public health and the environment against preventable sources of chemical and waste pollution and disease,” the EcoWaste Coalition said.

  1. Get started with a Zero Waste lifestyle as you stay at home to stem the spread of COVID-19; know and cut back on what you throw away starting with single-use plastics that are designed and made to be disposed of after quick use.
  2. Use your spending power to prevent and reduce the volume and toxicity of what you buy and discard during the COVID-19 enhanced community quarantine such as by picking non-toxic products with less packaging.
  3. Segregate discards at source, and make composting of food waste and other organics a habit; plunge into home composting and gardening during the lockdown.
  4. Properly dispose of used face masks, gloves, tissues, wipes and other potentially infectious waste with care to ensure the safety of waste workers and to prevent the spillage of such waste into the beaches and the oceans, which can harm aquatic life.
  5. Advocate for the enforcement of environmental and health laws and regulations from “no littering” to “no COVID-19 waste disposal in incinerators and crematories,” making sure your voice is heard, for example, through social media.

Home-based composting and gardening, the group pointed out, is a simple yet a most meaningful way of giving back to Mother Earth.

“From my experience at home composting biodegradable waste using simple methods and finding ways of growing veggies and herbs even in small places makes me feel that this is one of the ways I can do my share. Each minute I care for the earth in mini ways I dedicate for the healing of everyone and our dear Mother Earth,” remarked Eileen Sison, President, EcoWaste Coalition.

The group also echoed the global call for climate action, as well as for socially-just and sustainable solutions to the pandemic, as the Earth Day is observed in the face of a devastating contagion that has so far infected over two million people across the planet, killed more than 170,000 – and counting.

As stated by the Earth Day Network: “The coronavirus pandemic does not shut us down. Instead, it reminds us of what’s at stake in our fight for the planet.”

“If we don’t demand change to transform our planet and meet our climate crisis, our current state will become the new normal — a world where pandemics and extreme weather events span the globe, leaving already marginalized and vulnerable communities even more at risk,” the global network said.