Earth Day is celebrated in over 190 countries every April 22. It’s an annual opportunity to celebrate environmental gains we have made worldwide and continue taking action to make this planet a better place for future generations, for whom much is at stake.

In many ways, every day is Earth Day, when we acknowledge that our home planet sustains not only humankind, but all other life that resides here. The power of Earth to regulate natural processes is awesome and humbling. The air we breathe, the water we drink, the soils which nourish us, the list goes on for what our planet freely provides, except for where and when we have mucked it up. Sadly, that has been just about everywhere. It is only fair and just that we clean up our messes and re-dedicate ourselves to become better stewards.

Everything-from migrating birds to polar bears to the lungs of our planet, the Amazon Basin-depends on us doing so. Yet fracking, tar sands and other non-renewable energy extraction schemes continue to plague myriad landscapes, excavating ever more out of the ground while polluting air, water, and communities in their wake. This energy juggernaut is insane, akin to someone dying from lung cancer having cigarette smoke pumped into their home 24-7.

We know better. We have enough information to act decisively and do things differently.

We have tremendous capacity to move swiftly toward renewable energy use and take action to turn things around. But accelerated action and science-driven solutions alone will not save the planet for future generations. The art of cultivating greater kindness, empathy and compassion are equally vital for our continued survival.

Here’s an idea: this Memorial Day, Father’s Day, or another time of your choosing, send love and energy in gratitude to earth, and to all humankind as well. Express gratitude toward those who in the past made selfless, at times difficult choices to birth new beginnings. Acknowledge people today who inspire and give you hope, for hope and courage and action are unstoppable when we come from a place of protecting what we love rather than fighting what we are against. Consider young people from your own and other nations, tomorrow’s leaders and elders, and the world and life you want to gift them.

In The Art of Yellowstone Science, Bruce W. Fouke and Tom Murphy explore how the natural world has inspired art and science, and why neither field of expression and inquiry can meaningfully exist without the other.
The respective scientist (Fouke) and photographer (Murphy) find Yellowstone’s Mammoth Hot Springs terraces a particularly inspiring and dynamic place to fathom this relationship. One quote from their book leaps out, providing hope that all is not lost when we shift from fear to action:

The truth of everything is the truth of anything. Things happen and life exists for reasons that go far beyond our current understanding. Nature therefore stands as the most powerful and honest force in our lives, and human existence means living within the means of nature. Humanity’s quest for a sustainable existence will define our present and future place in the universe…