Today, April 22, marks Earth Day, which is an annual event celebrated around the world to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First celebrated in 1970, it now celebrated in more than 193 countries. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, is limiting ways of celebrating Earth Day this year. Saipan Tribune talked several CNMI residents about they are still doing it.
“Communities can continue to celebrate Earth Day by recycling, reducing waste, planting, spreading awareness on social media platforms, and simply enjoying time spent outdoors.
—Anela Duenas, Finan Sisu
“I think it is still important to celebrate Earth Day, even if it’s from home because the Earth is our home. …I believe that everything starts with you. Protecting our planet starts with you. It could be as little as watering your plants or planting a tree. …Nature could only do so much, we need to help it as much as we can.
—Katelyn Rabang, Chalan Kanoa
“Although we cannot pick up trash or do anything in public as a huge group, we can all celebrate it individually. …We can all start picking up some trash, recycle, not litter, conserve water, etc. We may not be doing this together physically, but if we all do it with the same reason and with one heart, we can say that we did it together. This COVID-19 pandemic should not stop us from appreciating our island and protecting it. No one should harm our island in any way. Everyone should protect it. If you see trash, pick it up. Try conserving water. There are many ways to celebrate Earth Day in your home. “
—Iris Lee, Chalan Kanoa
I believe that Earth Day should still be celebrated, even with the COVID-19 pandemic. We can do so by cleaning up around our homes or areas near it. Keeping social distancing in mind, people can contribute whenever they go out by throwing trash they see around them. Little things matter and, with that our Earth can heal. Seeing as there are [fewer] cars and people out there now, there’s a good chance there will be less pollution in the air and land. Earth is our home and we should contribute any way we can to ensure its preservation.”
—Alex Tudela, Dandan
“Not all special days need to be celebrated with a group at once. It doesn’t take 20 people for you to go outside your house and plant a tree, pick trash up, or simply water your garden. …I believe that people should still find the time to celebrate Earth Day and simply go outside and plant something.”
—Jeremiah Diaz, Fina Sisu
“Celebrating Earth Day does not have to be extravagant; it can simply be appreciating one’s environment and being thankful for what blessings the Earth has provided. Although our focus should be in mitigating the spread of COVid-19, I think celebrating Earth Day can also be a time to ponder our relationship with our environment. …Celebrating Earth Day reminds us to be conscientious of our actions and our behaviors toward the world around us: to other people, to animals, to plants, etc. For we all coexist in a delicate balance. When one life kingdom is unwell, the rest becomes affected, too.”
—Genelin Camacho, San Vicente
“…The health of our environment is and always will be important. We cannot settle when it comes to making changes in our everyday lives to protect the Earth, no matter how small those changes may seem. Earth Day reminds us to remain environmentally conscious in order to preserve the only home we’ll ever get. “
—Cleton Belnas, San Antonio
“Even with our situation now, as we practice social distancing, there are always ways we can celebrate Earth Day at home. You can start by educating yourself, family, and friends through social media about different types of pollution that you may be creating and ways to lessen them. You can also think…about planting your own vegetables to popularize self-sustainment. You can also think about using recyclable items. With our fight to protect ourselves against this COVID19 pandemic, it’s still very important to protect our Earth as well.”
—Fiona Bucalig, As Lito
“Even if we can’t come together personally to signify this special day, we can still approach this in others ways. One way I thought of is spreading awareness through social media. They can talk about the good things that have been happening to our world despite these trying times. “
—Sheila Ruiz, Chalan Kanoa
“The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically reduced human activity in public areas. Places such as the Venice canals in Italy, where the water is usually murky, have become clearer for the first time in years with the decrease in human activity. These instances serve as a reminder of the impacts people impose on the environment, further validating the need to spread awareness on Earth Day.”
—Anthony Tenorio, Fina Sisu
“Even through this pandemic, we are able to celebrate by going digital. What we can do is attend and participate in digital protests and discussions against global warming. There are a lot of things we can do as a community indoors and outside your home to celebrate this year’s Earth Day such as planting trees, recycling, and picking up trash outside your house. However, if you are the type of person who would like to pick up trash in public areas for this event, you can do so, but still be mindful of physical distancing.
—Earl Garcia, Chinatown
“Earth Day—the day most people identify as the day of environmental advocacy and rightfully so. However, it is not just a day to bring awareness to climate change or deforestation. It is a day to celebrate life! And despite our present situation concerning the COVID-19 outbreak, we ought to celebrate life all the more! The fact that lives are affected by environmental concerns show that there is still a need for this type of advocacy. There is still a need to preserve our islands and our wildlife. There is still a need to preserve our culture, and our people. There is still a need for the people of the CNMI and people all over the globe to spread that awareness and influence change. So reuse, recycle, and remember no one else can bring change in our planet but ourselves!
—Jeremiah Fernandez, Dandan
“Even though we are in quarantine to preserve our health, it is essential to continue our efforts to preserve the Earth’s health as well. There are still many ways to help the environment while practicing social distancing for the benefits of both ourselves and the Earth. Things like turning your lights off to conserve electricity, being mindful about the amount of trash you dispose of, staying home and not traveling by car to lessen your contribution to air pollution, etc. will benefit the Earth immensely.”
—Roanna Tudela, Dandan