Celebrating World Environment Day 2024

Featured photo by Deb Snelson | https://debsnelsonphotography.com/

Today is World Environment Day! This day is set aside by the United Nations for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment. This year’s theme focuses on land restoration, desertification, and drought resilience. About this year’s theme, the UN says, “Land sustains life on Earth. Farmlands, forests, grasslands, savannahs, peatlands and even mountains provide humanity with the goods and services that make civilization possible. Those landscapes are underpinned by aquatic ecosystems, such as oceans, rivers, and lakes, which sustain the water cycles that keep land fertile.” Due to three global crises – climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste – human intervention is necessary to revive our beloved natural spaces. We have the power and the knowledge to restore the environment, and we can all help!

HAC is located in a community with abundant freshwater resources, which can make these issues feel “far away” and unrelatable for some people. It can be overwhelming to hear about large-scale environmental issues and not know where or how to start pitching in. And it’s easy to learn about yet another global crisis and throw up our hands, feeling like defeat is inevitable. Fortunately, the UN provides tons of actionable suggestions in their practical guide (available here). There are plenty of small ways that Holland residents can do their part to help the environment – today and every day – and we’ve shared a few of them below!

Six easy ways to help our ecosystem thrive:

  1. Learn to reduce, reuse, and recycle to cut back on plastic waste, which often ends up in our bodies of water.
  2. Learn about and consume only local and sustainable fish and seafood.
  3. “Green up” your balcony, garden, yard, or workplace by planting trees, bushes, and nitrogen-fixing plants.
  4. Shop local to support local farmers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  5. Collect your kitchen waste to be used as compost in your garden. You can also join a community composting scheme; Ottawa County offers one! Read more here.
  6. Plant diverse native flowers to attract birds, butterflies, bees, and other pollinators.