75.6 F

Davis, California

Monday, June 10, 2024

Touch some grass for the greenest day of the year

Make Earth Day every day with these environmentally friendly tips


April not only marks the start of spring and sunshine but also Earth Day — the celebration of the lovely planet that we inhabit! April 22, 2024 marked the 54th annual celebration of Earth Day, a global phenomenon recognized by more than 192 countries.

The day was originally created in response to a catastrophic oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara in 1969 that left many ecosystems and species destroyed. Following the spill, former U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, along with a group of activists, went to the media to pressure non-eco-friendly companies into reducing their environmental harm. After gaining traction on college campuses and eventually around the world, the national holiday was born in 1970

With the origin of Earth Day starting in California, it’s no surprise that the state set the bar high for celebrations this year with our very own new state park. Dos Rios is set to open this June as the first new California state park since 2014. The Dos Rios State Park was first created as a restoration effort to protect the land and endangered species in the area surrounding the Tuolumne and San Joaquin rivers, but is now a gift for Earth on its special day. 

Following California’s lead, UC Davis and the city of Davis held many of their own events to memorialize the day. From plant sales in the Arboretum to environmental love letters, the festivities in Davis had something for everyone to enjoy! 

Additionally, The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) and the Environmental Policy and Planning Commission (EPPC) have held their own fun event for the entire Earth Day week. The Earth Week Challenge gives students a chance to complete fun sustainable activities, like taking a shorter shower or biking to campus every day for a week, and then encourages them to upload their results to social media. Participants can also challenge family, friends or other students to join in.

As it starts to get warmer and drier in our area, we are also entering the start of California fire season. Fire danger is a very important issue, especially in places that have a desert or arid ecosystem such as Northern California. Even a casually discarded cigarette butt could get out of hand and create a disastrous situation. 

Smokey said it best: Only you can prevent wildfires! Never start fires on days when it is restricted due to excessive wind or heat. These conditions can be the difference between a small recreational fire and a large out-of-control burn. Additionally, make sure you build fires in open areas that are far away from flammables and that you effectively put out the fires, including all coals. Leave the prescribed burning to the ecological authorities. Do your part to minimize your fire footprint and preserve our green planet. 

There are also projects and groups on campus you can join to help protect the earth. One of UC Davis’ clubs, the Surfrider Foundation, has two to three environmental cleanups every quarter that students can join at any time, with the next one happening on May 5. The club has local cleanups at Putah Creek or larger cleanups at San Francisco or Santa Cruz beaches, so get involved today. 

The SeaTree Project is another great way to get involved in environmental restoration. People can donate money and plant a SeaTree, which aids coral growth, in their name or work as a member of the organization. The SeaTree project works to restore coastal ecosystems and help reverse the effects of climate change.

Although Earth Day has now passed, there are still many ways we can enjoy and celebrate our wonderful planet through the great outdoors. Lake Berryessa, Putah Creek and Mount Tamalpais all offer stunning hikes that anyone can enjoy. Ranging in difficulty level and length, these hikes can be a great way to reconnect with nature and feel the powerful effects of fresh air. If you’re looking for somewhere to start, try out one of our personal favorite hikes, the Blue Ridge Trail Loop, in the nearby Stebbins Cold Canyon Natural Reserve.

Every day is a chance to commemorate the Earth and all that she provides for you. Don’t discount the small impacts your actions have, from recycling to shopping at the farmer’s market. Go outside and enjoy the lovely planet we call home and do your part in restoring it for future generations. Embrace the outdoor magic and let nature be your guide!

Written by: The Editorial Board


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here