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We live in interesting times.  Earth Day is on Wednesday and we're still in the midst of COVID-19.  What could these two events possibly have in common?  Since we're staying home, we are saving energy - lots and lots of it - and that's good for our planet.  

The first Earth Day was on April 22, 1970 – 50 years ago.  On this day 20 million Americans, 10% of the population at that time, came out all over the country to protest environmental travesties and demand protection for our planet.  The 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day is Wednesday, April 22, 2020. 

COVID-19 Effect

One of the side effects of the COVID-19 virus is an immediate shutdown of most countries around the world with stunning impacts on pollution.  Researchers are getting an unprecedented opportunity to study the results of worldwide reduction in atmospheric aerosols. These tiny particles and droplets are emitted into the air from a variety of sources including fossil-fuel burning, to fertilizer spraying, and even sea spray.

A sliver lining of the Stay Home, Stay Safe restrictions is that carbon emissions could fall by the largest drop on record - 2.5 billion metric tons this year. The U.S. is also experiencing a decline in energy use – about 5% since December 2019.

Earth Overshoot Day

The day of the year that we used more resources than the planet can regenerate in one year is known as Earth Overshoot Day.  In 2019, the world used 1.75% of the Earth’s worth of resources and that day has been coming earlier each year since 1970.  Earth Overshoot Day will no doubt move later in 2020 due to COVID-19 keeping the world home. 

Checking Your Carbon Footprint

What if we all decided to continue some of our patterns produced by the virus?  We go to the grocery store once a week instead of stopping there every other day.  Cooking at home defrays food costs, brings the family together, and doesn’t require a car trip.  Grouping errands by location, taking someone with you who has similar stops, and making a list could contribute to fewer miles on those trips.

Want a great way to check your carbon footprint?  Check out the EPA’s Carbon Footprint Calculator.

Dean and Draper

Thank you for staying safe.  We are certainly in this together.  

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Sources: Earth Day, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Scientific American