#EarthSmiles and we are all the better for it

It is hard to believe we are already at the end of April. The past several weeks have challenged our security, our morals and our strength of will.

For those of us who are in more fortunate positions, where we can take a moment to pause, we find the silver linings and the unexpected gifts of hope. In those moments, we find the strength to protect our families, communities and the essential needs on which we depend. I believe clean air, water and food are essential and things only a healthy planet can provide.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. A day that originated in 1970 as an environmental movement in reaction to environmental disasters, such as when floating pollution in the Cuyahoga River caught on fire and Santa Barbara experienced an oil spill that devastated over 800 square miles of coastal waters. The movement was a call for environmental protection and was supported by a large portion of the US population. From that movement, the Environmental Protection Agency was formed and in the following decade, 28 major federal environmental laws were implemented, including the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. These laws have benefited us greatly – in 1979, before these protections were put in place, there were 636 oil spills from tanker ships, and in 2016 there were only 6 oil spills. Environmental protection laws make a difference.

On this Earth Day, we are reminded not only that we must continue our efforts to support the movement to end plastic pollution but to find inspiration for human action in the interest of sustaining nature in its entirety.

What gets us to appreciate what we have? What gets us to protect what is important?

Malibu home burned in wildfires and flowers two years later

Before and after: Malibu Wildfires to Wildflowers.

I’m grateful to be able to breathe the cleaner Los Angeles air under a blue sky and pause to notice the colorful wildflowers on the hillside. The hillside that was ravaged by wildfire only a year and a half ago, now smiles with brilliant color and proving it is not fragile but changeable, as too are we.

So as I try to shift my perspective from dread to hope during this pandemic, I find strength in the moments that feel as if Earth is sharing its joy and smiling around me. And in return, I try to share that strength to support my community.

Please join us today in our #EarthSmiles campaign. All day long, we are allowing Mother Earth to speak for herself, via numerous stunning images and videos of here landscapes, seascapes and wildlife. They serve as a reminder of what we miss getting out into, but also of why we must fight to protect it.

Earth Day 2020 from Plastic Oceans International

Today, we ask one simple question: How has the Earth made you smile lately?

Please share comments, photos or videos on our Earth Day social media posts, that help answer that question.