“Thank you for my family, my home, the land and everything on it.”– Stephen, 9 years old, South Setauket, NY 

The indeginous native American ancestors of the United States were some of the first teachers to show us how to be grateful for nature and the abundance of Mother Earth as this is the way they lived for 20,000 years. They honor all living creatures: animals, plants, the earth as mother, and the sky as father.  Having gratitude for all living things teaches us the value and importance of being alive on this wonderful planet. With the understanding that it is because of nature’s gifts that we are alive and thrive, it becomes easier to express respect for the planet and become more mindful of our children’s future in this world.

The holidays specifically bring gratitude to mind, maybe more frequently than other times of the year, as there is some much to be grateful for. As we give thanks, take a moment to contemplate how wonderful it is to live here on earth. From the abundant natural resources that sustain us, to the magnificent nature all around us, this planet gives us so many experiences to enjoy. With climate change massively affecting us all, it’s more important than ever to do your part to protect and preserve the earth for future generations. This holiday, start making a difference by finding ways to show your gratitude for the planet.

  1. Animals: animal shelters, rescue habitats, or even zoos that take in endangered or recovering animals are great places to visit, allowing you to get further educated about how animals are a vital part of our ecosystem. If you are able to volunteer at an animal shelter, even better. Respecting animals is one definite way of showing your gratitude for the planet. Spending time appreciating and caring for animals is rewarding. Each state and almost every city, has some kind of wildlife conservation effort that will host an annual holiday drive for fundraising, awareness, or continued conservation awareness. By participating in one of these events, you are showing your appreciation for one of the many categories of species that share this earth.
  2. Buy Organic: Choosing anything that is organic is a way to show your gratitude for the planet. Crops, resources, and products that come from sustainable, organically sourced and recycled/upcycled origins make a huge difference in how the earth is cared for and treated. Choosing organic means less toxic by-products, fewer pesticides, and un-sustainable resources lost.
    • Food
    • Clothes
    • Personal care items
    • Home goods

Every organic thing you buy contributes to making the earth cleaner, healthier, and more resilient. And since you live on the earth, that affects you, too. 

  1. Enjoy Nature: In this digital age, many of us spend too many of our days looking at screens. During the holidays, take some of your recreational time outdoors and enjoy nature. 
    • Sit somewhere quite outside, preferably actually on the earth- ground, sand, rocks- and take some time to just be still and listen. 
    • Walk. Feel gratitude that you are able to walk; that the environment is healthy enough to provide you with clear enough air to breath, with paths to run, with nature to enjoy. 
    • Visit and/or work in a community garden. Getting your hands in the actual soil or the earth will give you some groundedness and appreciation for life’s natural cycles.  
    • Visit a park you’ve never been to before. It’s fun and rewarding to find hidden nature places in your city or town. These little treasures can bring you joy, which makes you feel happy, closer to nature thus an overall appreciation and gratitude for the outdoors.
  2. Food: Food is an ENORMOUS part of holiday celebrations. How often do we take time to think about how that food got to our table and at what cost? Unless you have grown or raised it, or made an effort to buy from a local farm and/or produce growers, do you know where your food comes from and how getting it to you affects the earth? See if you can incorporate some food dishes that come straight from nature during your holiday festivities. And give some purposeful thanks for your food before you dive into that feast. This is a very simple but powerful way to show gratitude for the earth.
  3. Plant Something: Part of enjoying nature and feeling gratitude for the earth, can come by participating in Her regrowth and support. By planting food, flowers, trees, anything, you are not only helping yourself (spiritually and physically) but also helping the earth thrive by revealing any lost nature in your area.
  4. Take Action: If you are an environmentally conscious person already, or have just learned something new about the earth that you are excited about, take action and share your passion and knowledge. 
    • Take to your social media accounts and inspire others to appreciate earth today (and every day!). 
    • Imagine if everyone felt gratitude for the planet; dire climate circumstances could change drastically for the better.
    • Sharing the joy you find in nature. Share the ways you are making a difference. Share the action steps others can take to make a difference. Your passion and inspiration is contagious! 
    • Join in the #EarthGratitude Wave by sharing your appreciation with photos of what you’re grateful for on this earth with the hashtag #EarthGratitude.
    • You can also take action with these 12 days of Earth Friendly Habits for the holidays. ​​
  5. Take Care of Nature: Pick-up Trash: Get garbage off the streets, out of your parks, beaches, and outdoor areas and into the proper disposal places. Removing trash for any area where it doesn’t belong is a step in helping the earth stay healthy. 
    • There are several other community activities you can do in your neighborhood to show your gratitude for the earth. 
  6. Volunteer: The act of helping others helps you and the planet, too. 
    • Give Flowers-A very simple way to honor the earth is to spread kindness and joy by donating flowers to those who might be lonely, ill, or sad during the holidays. Some ideas include: 
      1. Senior home residents
      2. Churches
      3. Hospitals
    • Environmental Charity -To give back to the Earth, look into local environmentally related organizations in your area. You can help distribute saved food (that might have ended up in the trash); work at a recycling event, maintain outdoor spaces; reforest needy areas.
  7. Write A Letter: Sit down and write a letter to your local government officials and organizations, and other large companies to let them know that you care about earth and need their help. 
    • Personal requests make big impacts.
    • Want to make it even bigger? Start a petition for something earth related in your city that needs attention. Ask for a ban on plastic bags; encourage more solar and wind powered orerations; start curbside composting in your neighborhood.
  8.  Zero Plastic: Show your deepest gratitude and love for the earth but committing to become as close to plastic-free as possible. Plastic is everywhere. Microparticles are in the rain, in seafood, even in newborn infants. Plastic can only ever be recycled twice and then it’s to the landfills forever. 
    • To show how much you care about the earth, don’t give any gifts with plastic in them. 
    • Request to receive plastic-free gifts.
    • Ask others to make a new year commitment to use less plastic, even if it’s just no more plastic bags for them. Or to never use another plastic utensil. One step at a time until you are plastic-free.

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