Five Easy Ways to Show Your Gratitude for the Planet

 11/3/2019 4:56 pm
By: Grace Pawlowski

Studies have shown that we can change our brain patterns after only eight weeks of gratitude practice, allowing us to feel greater happiness and empathy. This season, in acknowledgment of the tough impact we’ve had on the environment, we wanted to test this theory out and come up with some ideas to help us show gratitude for the planet. Trying to make a difference as an individual can be overwhelming, but we discovered that there are many small acts of gratitude that collectively can make a big difference. Find an idea that speaks to you, practice gratitude, experience happiness ... and inspire others along the way! 

Follow the News
Be “in the know” about our wondrous planet and all it has to offer. Keep up with the positive news along with the challenges we’re facing so you can understand how your decisions make an impact, inform others and possibly even take an activist role by supporting or opposing government and business decisions that matter. Staying educated on the topic can be as easy as bookmarking the right sections of your favorite news sources or tuning in to a few new accounts on your preferred social media platform. Here are some of our favorites:

@NYTclimate
BBC News - Science & Environment
NPR - Environment
National Geographic on Instagram
Oceana on Instagram

If you’re looking for Friday night movie recommendation, try one of these:

Planet Earth I / Planet Earth II
Blue Planet
Before the Flood
A Plastic Ocean

Take your commute up a notch with these informative podcasts:

NPR - Climate Cast
Climate One
Sustainability Defined

Go Explore
Deepen your appreciation for nature by getting outside and allowing yourself time to see things you may have missed before. Plan to camp in a national park on your next vacation or pick a spot known for ecotourism. Many of the sought after destinations in tropical regions have thriving eco-conscious communities that are dedicated to providing luxurious stays, with minimal impact, and programming to help you connect with the surrounding environment. Here are some great resources to get you going:

All Trails - The most in-depth collection of trails with crowd-sourced information on how to find the trailhead, trail conditions and other tips and photos. This is a must have for anyone that enjoys hiking. Get the app for easy navigation (but don’t forget to immerse yourself in nature). 

Hip Camp - This site offers a variety of accommodations from private property to national parks. Whether you are looking for a remote location to pitch your tent or a cozy yurt tucked away in the forest, Hip Camp can connect you with the right option. Checkout their guides and discover amazing, and mostly untouched, trips within a couple of hours from home. 

Nature in The City - San Francisco - Most metropolitan areas have resources to educate the community on the biodiversity that exists in the city. Feel good about telling your friends what kind of bird just flew by or what that interesting plant is called. Nature in The City has collaborated with local partners to create a map that celebrates its rich biodiversity. Download their Field Guide to the Wildlife of Market Street or Butterflies of San Francisco and head out on an urban hiking adventure.

Ecotourism.org - Ecotourism is the practice of responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of local people and supports educational programming. Learn more about ecotourism principles and how you can support the movement. 
WAYAJ - This resource promotes eco-friendly hotels by scoring them in the following categories: community, water, management, energy, products and purchasing, waste and recycling and their indoor environment. Now you can feel even better about your PTO.  

Start a Movement
Lead by example and watch those around you fall in line. A little nudge in the right direction can have a big impact over the course of a lifetime. More importantly, we have to teach future generations how to care for the planet and keep it habitable and lush. The easiest places to effect immediate change are in the workplace or at school (or at home with Urban Market Bags!). Ask the following questions to determine how you can make improvements to your office/school environment or your business or home practices:
  • Do we need a recycling program?
  • Do we need a composting program?
  • Do we use single-use plastics?
  • Can we switch to reusable items in the kitchen?
  • Can we conserve energy during off-hours?
  • Can we use our purchasing power to support eco-friendly products and partnerships?
  • Can we have a mission statement & goals related to sustainability?
  • Are there ways to reduce our carbon footprint as a business (i.e. carbon-free shipper, recyclable packaging)?

If the answer is YES to any of these questions, there is work to be done! 

Plant Something
Plants are more than a sight for sore eyes — they are powerful, pollution-fighting machines indoors and out! Once you’ve mastered the easy-to-care-for list, try a few herbs and vegetables to add some flavor your home-cooked meals. If you don’t have much of a green thumb you can also get involved in local foraging communities that help you identify sustainable and edible ingredients in your area. These groups have a lot of appreciation for the environment and will teach you how to coexist in harmony. Choose your own adventure:

Best indoor plants to reduce pollution
How to use your garden to fight pollution
Foraging (San Francisco) Classes 

Get Creative
Have you ever tried to paint or draw a beautiful sunset or the old tree in your front yard? Are you the DIY type when it comes to holiday gifts? Do you like to cook with local ingredients & flavors? Have you realized that poetry is your hidden talent? We’re all creative in our own ways. Use your talents to express appreciation for the planet and share your gift with others. Inspiration is everywhere:

Raven and Magnolia
Spielkkind
The Forest Feast
Nature inspired DIYs on Pinterest
Nature writing prompts for kids