Happy 50th, Earth Day

We can learn a lot about coping with climate change from COVID-19.

Dear Earth Day,

Happy 50th. I wish I could be there to celebrate with you in person, but COVID-19’s personal distancing keeps me away. I know you’ll understand since you’re 50 and you’ve already learned that things don’t always work out the way we planned. (Remember how well your relationship with the EPA started in the 1970s?)

Reaching 50 is quite an accomplishment. For humans, it is often a turning point: I wonder if it’s the same for Earth Day. According to Stanford Psychologist Laura Carstensen, 50 is about when our sense of time shifts: we move from thinking about how long we’ve already lived to thinking about our time left to live. This has an important impact; the sense of limited time helps us set priorities for people and activities. Maybe you, too, feel a sense of urgency; people have been warning that we have very little time left to respond to the climate crisis?