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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Earth Day 2020 Honoring Mother Earth

Mar 31, 2020 06:28AM ● By J Garnett
On April 22, nature enthusiasts around the country, and in over 190 countries around the world, will be celebrating and honoring Mother Earth. This year is a milestone, as Earth Day has its 50th birthday. In 1970, Gaylord Nelson, a previous governor and United States Senator from Wisconsin, founded the first Earth Day. It would be the conception of a new and conscious environmental movement to ensure the safety of the planet. It’s believed that when Nelson saw the ravages of a massive oil spill in 1969 off the shores of Santa Barbara, California, firsthand, he was driven to take action on a national level.
   
Decades leading up to the first Earth Day was considered the age of the activist. Small groups of people were protesting the lack of equality for women, lack of civil rights, expensive and senseless wars and killing, water and air pollution and the loss of plant and animal life. People were voicing concerns about the continuing development of the country, and it didn’t look promising. Activists observed power plants and factories belching out toxic plumes of smoke, the dumping of raw sewage into rivers and streams, pesticides killing Bald Eagles and other animals, loss of wilderness, extinction of wildlife and the paving over of their ecosystems, which drastically reduced forests and vegetation around the country. Nelson became a central figure in bringing all of these activists together for a common cause, and what started as a grassroots campaign is now an international event. Two years ago, the United Nations officially recognized April 22 as International Mother Earth Day.
   
Within eight months of the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, the United States Environmental Protection Agency was created. The Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act were all ratified. Republicans and Democrats, the rich, the poor, the urban and rural populations alike all came together with a common goal—to take the steps needed in order to preserve the planet. Why wouldn’t people want to get involved and help heal the planet? It is the biggest supplier of natural medicine, after all.
   
Although the creation of agencies and laws regarding the environment has had overwhelming support over the years, some would say that the earth is spiraling out of control once more. The Center for Biological Diversity has predicted that over one million species of plants and animals could become extinct over the next 50 years. These numbers are staggering not only because of the loss, but because many of the plants that will potentially vanish have ingredients that are used for natural medicine. Many of the plants that will cease to exist may have untapped or unidentified medicinal value and will be lost forever. Even though research and discovery of new natural medicines has been on the rise, there is still lots to be discovered, some of which will never be found, because the plants which house the medicine will simply not be here to examine.
   
Around the world, countries are in a position to make major strides when it comes to protecting the planet. It’s believed that one in seven people around the world will celebrate Earth Day. Trees will be planted, gardens will be built, employees will car pool or ride a bike to work, millions of dollars will be donated and Mother Earth will be honored for her plethora of natural gifts. The facts show that major progress has occurred, however some of the potential dangers that plague the planet today are being caused by actions and events that happened long before the first Earth Day. Unfortunately, many of the one billion Earth Day celebrants will regress back to a place where the planet is not the celebrity of the day.
   
If the enthusiasm that’s felt and displayed on April 22 each year could extend through the rest of the calendar, humanity would look very different, and the Earth would be in her rightful place as Mother. One way that the populace could embrace this planet is to become more familiar with the local vegetation. Knowing what grows naturally in neighborhoods and nature can hasten the pace at which natural medicine becomes more mainstream. It’s not just being able to identify specific trees and other plants, however. It can be taken a step further by finding out the medicinal values and ingredients that this nearby vegetation can offer.
   
With knowledge comes power, and knowing what can treat and cure disease and illness is a benefit that most people can attain. Planting home gardens that are full of plants and flowers, and knowing how they can be used as medicine, is the best gift for our planet and for each other. Mother Earth has been providing for her inhabitants since the very beginning, and it’s time now for people to start giving back by being aware of the boundless possibilities that can take place, healing humanity in the most natural and beneficial way.

J. Garnet, M.Ed. is a writer, teacher, speaker and healer. Garnet’s passion is helping the public see that nature is medicine. Connect at 520-437-8855 or [email protected].
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