Written by Quinn Pickering |

A week ago, I was biking along a river and saw a man sitting on a bench looking out upon the water. The man was still, deeply immersed in the water flowing past him. The water welcomed his gaze, reminding him of all of the river’s intricacies and secrets that lay beneath the surface. He was reminded of fond times fishing and kayaking down the river, seeing the wildlife that lived along the riverbank, and feeling at peace with himself. Without the river, the man’s way of life would not have been possible. The man had grown so absorbed in his own life that he had forgotten all that nature had given him. His time sitting at the bench gave him an opportunity to reflect on what he had previously forgotten, and to reconnect with what he cherished so dearly. In that moment it was just the man and the river, and the man gave thanks to the river.

That is how I intend to celebrate Earth Day: by giving thanks to the earth around me. Just like the man and the river, thanks will be given in a sustainable manner. I may give thanks simply by taking a walk at sunset. Listening to a lone owl beginning to hoot while looking out across the endless red, orange, and purple sky, I count myself lucky to be alive and experience such beauty. I have been given the gift of life by the earth, and am forever in debt. I am reminded that I am not alone in this world, and how organisms are dependent upon others for survival. If I wish to keep being treated by the beauties of nature, I must work to restore to natural balance of life and not consume more resources than is sustainable.

I encourage others to consider all that the earth has given them. Modern life can cause us to grow removed from our roots (no pun intended) and forget to count our blessings. Thank the earth for the air we breathe, the food we consume, the vaccines we produce, the list is infinite. The more cognizant we become of earth’s gifts and how vital they are, the more we will be inspired to sustainably coexist with the earth and not abuse such gifts.