Elanor Teel

Earth Day is going to be a little different this year. In the past, I’ve marked the day out in nature with friends, going to a beach or hiking in a provincial park. Instead, on this (50th!) Earth Day I will likely spend the day in my small backyard, alone with my chickens, as I have done on many of these days in quarantine.

All of this forced staying home has made me realise how often I drive or bike long distances to reach “nature.” As the days in quarantine go by, and I stay home, tending to my little garden, noticing the ways it changes day by day, I am finding nature just steps from my backdoor.

Spending so much time in my backyard, and in the small community park down the street, I feel a change in my sense of place. Although my world has shrunk to my home, my yard and the occasional wander down the block, I don’t think I’ve ever been more grateful for the gifts of nature. In the absence of much of my social world, each change in the world around me is like an event: the full moon, the tulips blooming, the bright blue sky.  And when I look at the paper hearts and notes of encouragement in nearly every window I see, the moments of claustrophobia and oppressiveness during this pandemic are much more bearable. 

In my work with Watershed Watch, I connect with salmon defenders all across the province. For many of us, I think that this pandemic has brought into stark relief the importance of our wild spaces and our wild salmon. As well as how important are all our relationships with the people in our lives.

I hope you will join me in celebrating Earth Day this year, even though we can not come together. Let’s take this day to think about our relationship to the natural world and all the ways we can still connect with nature and each other while we stay home.

NB. If you are looking for online activities, here’s a link to loads of great Earth Day events.  And if you want to connect with me, I will be hosting a digital happy hour on Friday to celebrate Earth Day and National Volunteer Week. Email me for more info.