6 Ways To Experience Earth Day (& Enjoy Every Second Of It!)

by Abby Stern

The buzz and energy of our natural environment are very stimulating this time of year as the lush, green earth comes alive with the longer days of spring. The gray of winter shrugs away by the day while tulips pop and the Aspens bud and quickly fill; an annual transition that re-engages the mind, body, and spirit. 

In celebration of Earth Day on Saturday, April 22nd, we have compiled a variety of activities and practices to be mindful of as we all find balance during this exciting time of year. We invite you to join us with these 6 easy ways to tune in and activate your senses and mind. 

1) Take off your shoes and touch the earth

Go for a barefoot walk and pay attention to the sole of your foot striking the earth, your toes gripping for traction, and your heel lifting off the earth.  According to the Chopra Center, the daily practice of mindful walking connects you more deeply with the environment and can improve the quality of sleep and relationship skills, enhance concentration, reduce stress, and also provide a deeper connection to spirit.(1) 

Jess Ewart, ACW Executive Director, recently taught a walking meditation in our Brain Breaks program for the PitCo Human Resources Department. Follow her step by step meditation below. 

 
brainbreakcard2_Page_2.jpg
 

2) Put down your keys and hop on a bike.

Biking, one of the most common environmental to-dos, is also one of the most beneficial for your body and spirit.  The University of California Berkeley Transportation Sustainability Research Center reported that each mile someone rides a bike instead of driving a car means about one pound of carbon dioxide is kept out of the atmosphere. (2) 

Biking is also a great boost to your muscles, strengthening your thighs, hips, and booty. And an activity that is gentle on your joints, helping in muscle and cartilage recovery. 

With almost 200 WE-cycle bikes between Aspen and Willits, the local bike sharing program is a great option if you do not have your own bike.(3)

 
Photo Credit MARCI KRIVONEN of Aspen Public Radio

Photo Credit MARCI KRIVONEN of Aspen Public Radio

 

3) Leave your cell phone and computer behind and attend an Earth Day Event

A theme we come back to at the Aspen City of Wellbeing is the importance of Community Connection. Attend one of the events below and get engaged with local environmental groups.  

Events in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley: 


4) Go a day without meat, and prepare raw meals

Eating a vegetarian diet is one of the most impactful ways to reduce one’s overall carbon footprint. A report from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) concluded that the livestock industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector (all cars, planes, trains and ships) combined. (4)

Consuming 75% raw food in your daily diet will increase energy, clear up your skin, reduce inflammation, improve digestion and strengthen the immune system, accord to Dr. Josh Draxe. (5) 

Check out the JIYO app for some awesome vegetarian, vegan, and raw recipes. 

5) Start Composting 

All around the country landfills are filling up. Composting food scraps can divert a large portion of this waste from the landfill. 

City of Aspen residents may stop by the Environmental Health and Sustainability Department on the 2nd floor of City Hall to pick up a free 6.5-gallon bucket to be used for collection of their compost. (3) Check out more info on Aspen Composting here

6) Watch a sunrise or sunset

With the days getting longer and the weather getting warmer this time of year, watching the sunrise or sunset has become more accessible. Taking time to stop, and watch the visual representation of the day beginning or ending is one of my favorite ways to be reminded of the gratitude I have for planet earth. 

Mahatma Gandhi observed this power when he said, “When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator.”

Additionally, save electricity, get some extra rest and go to sleep with the setting sun, which is around 8 pm this time of year. If weather and location permit, consider camping outside to breathe in the fresh air as your sleep. 

You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.
— Jane Goodall

Sources:

  1. 9  Reasons To Try Mindful Walking http://www.chopra.com/articles/9-reasons-to-try-mindful-walking#sm.000188qx6pt2rez8wqh1lfon5zunr
  2. University of California Berkeley Transportation Sustainability Research Center  http://tsrc.berkeley.edu/projectarea/innovativemobility
  3. We-Cycle Community-Supported Bike Share  https://www.we-cycle.org/
  4. Food and Agriculture Organization Key Facts and Figures  http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/197623/icode/
  5. Raw Food Diet: Benefits, Risk and How to Do It  https://draxe.com/raw-food-diet/
  6. Compost (SCRAPS)  http://www.aspenpitkin.com/Living-in-the-Valley/Green-Initiatives/Recycling/Compost-(SCRAPS)-/
  7. Brainy Quotes Gandhi https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/mahatmagan160715.html
  8. Good Reads- Jane Goodall https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/511077-you-cannot-get-through-a-single-day-without-having-an
Abby Stern