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World Environment Day

It can be difficult to celebrate something as enormous and vague as “our environment.”

This spring I watched three baby robins hatch, grow feathers, and learn to become independent and important parts of my backyard’s forest ecosystem–right under my deck!

Witnessing little moments of growth in my own backyard helps me appreciate my environment so much more. It’s a beautiful system that regenerates and balances itself.

This year, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) made the World Environment Day theme #GenerationRestoration, to inspire action.

In environmental science, a species’ role in an ecosystem is called its “niche.” Every organism has one; they’re all important somehow.

Humans have a niche too, a pretty big one. And we aren’t acting solely off of instinct; we have the intelligence and resources to decide how much (or how badly) our interactions with other parts of our ecosystem affect the ecosystem as a whole.

The point is, we can do better.

Nature is naturally regenerative; it goes in a circle. Humans don’t usually work like that; we go in a line. Circles are eternal. Lines have beginnings and ends.

What scientists have been saying for years is that we appear to be hurtling ourselves at record speeds towards what could be an end.

But we can do better.

We can reimagine our environmental impact, our niche. We can recreate our pollutive systems and make them greener, more circular. We can restore damaged ecosystems. With worldwide action, we can be the generation to restore Planet A.

Now get off your phone or computer; go outside, celebrate World Environment Day.

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