Tomorrow, we here at Trails Utah will be celebrating Earth Day by exploring the trails in Southern Utah. There we will discuss ways to help improve the trails throughout the state of Utah. Across the globe there are more than 1 billion people that participate in Earth Day activities. What are you doing?
Earth Day History
After the oil spill in Santa Barbara in 1969, then Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin sought to educate the public about the environment. Sen. Nelson then acquired the assistance of advocate Denis Hayes, who was the first national coordinator. While utilizing a staff of 85 individuals they were able to rally a national grass-roots movement that included 20 million people throughout the United States. They rallied, held public talks on the environment, and university students protested in defense of the environment.
“It was on that day that Americans made it clear that they understood and were deeply concerned over the deterioration of our environment and the mindless dissipation of our resources.” – Gaylord Nelson
Before this momentous step forward there was no EPA, no Clean Water Act, no Clear Air Act, and nothing that regulated our destruction of the environment that keeps us alive.
Paris Climate Agreement
Last year the world made a big step forward as many nations came together to sign the Paris Climate Agreement.
“We each have a role to play in ensuring that we do not pass a world beyond repair on to our children. Everyone must do their part, and as long as we unite to protect the one planet we have, we can leave it in better shape for future generations.” – Barack Obama on signing the Paris Agreement
This agreement is among many other efforts put forward to lessen our impact on the environment and help to better preserve it for future generations. We must do our part to keep this world a wonderful place to live, work, and play.
A Few Things You Can Do
1. Pick up trash along your local trail
We are trail users because of the peace of mind that they can bring. They bring us closer to this great earth in which we live. We especially enjoy the pristine quality of the backcountry. Many of our trails are heavily used and with that, unfortunately, comes unnecessary litter and human impact. Help by carrying out your own trash as well as any trash that you see along the way. If we all reach out then these trails will remain as great places to see and enjoy. The environment and wildlife will be better for it as well.
2. Conserve Power
- Turn off your lights and other electronics when you are no longer using them. This sounds basic, but only half of adults claim to do this simple task.
- Phantom power comes from large electronics that remain plugged in for extended periods of time. Many TVs and other electronics have a power saver mode, but the EPA reports that 1% of carbon emission comes from electronics left plugged in. Use a power strip and shut it off when you are not using these for extended periods of time.
- Renewable energy goes a long way in helping to reduce our carbon footprint. Look into solar programs, more efficient vehicles, and other ways that you can reduce your energy usage.
- If you won’t be using your machine for 20 minutes, turn off the monitor. If it won’t be needed for more than two hours, turn off the computer.
3. Conserve Water
The average American uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water a day. By slowing the flow we can bring this number down drastically. Shut the water off more, take shorter showers, and use more efficient toilets to reduce your water usage.
4. Reuse, Reduce, Recycle
We have become a society that is driven on consumerism. Thanks to Patagonia (worn wear) and others we are a little more aware that we can repair and reuse the gear that we have. We have probably all gotten a tear or ripped seam in our favorite jacket. How did we respond? Did we just replace it with a new one, or did we tape it, stitch it, or patch it? We can do our part in reducing waste by not accumulating so much and then repairing what we currently have.
5. Connect with the Environment
Various studies have been performed to show that time in nature, hiking, exercise, and green space all contribute to a healthier lifestyle. Such benefits include improved concentration, lower incidence of diseases such as depression, diabetes, heart disease and others, decreased stress hormones, and improved overall lifestyle. By connecting with these natural places we find a happier and healthier life.
6. Ride Share
By eliminated the number of trips that we are taking and amount of cars on our roadways we can help to reduce emissions into our air. Breathe Utah has been working to bring awareness as well as improve overall air quality by encouraging such activities.
7. Plant a Tree
Trees provide the oxygen that we need to breath. They help in reducing carbon dioxide to help us live a healthier life.
8. Support A Nonprofit
Nonprofits such as Trails Utah, The Nature Conservancy, Breath Utah, and others work to make the environment a more sustainable place to live. These nonprofits survive by individual member donations, corporate sponsorship support, and government grants. Utilizing the money raised we are able to put these funds to work to help bring awareness, advocate for the environment, and make the places that humans and the environment come together more sustainable.
By taking care of this earth that we have stewardship over we are leaving it better for future generations as well as making it more sustainable for each of us. We love to play in the great places that the outdoors provides so let us watch out for it and do something this Earth Day to celebrate our great planet!