Earth Day is an annual, globally celebrated event that asks people to think about and environmentally respect the world we live in.

To honor the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day, Wednesday April 22, Darien green organizations have offered several suggestions for individuals and families to celebrate, given the town, nation and the world are fighting the coronavirus pandemic (See Page A1). While we can’t gather for cleanups and trail sprucing, we can all do our own part.

The first Earth Day took place in 1970 and was organized by Gaylord Nelson, a former Wisconsin senator, in an effort to raise awareness about water and air pollution. On the first Earth Day, 20 million Americans participated in voicing their concerns and raising awareness about environmental concerns, including oil spills, toxic dumps and endangered animals.

The first international Earth Day took place in 1990, with 200 million people from 141 countries discussing the importance of preserving the environment and thinking of ways to actively protect the environment.

Since the establishment of Earth Day, people have put forth the effort to make sustainable and environmentally beneficial changes. In the United States, government officials enacted the Clean Air and Water acts as well as the Endangered Species Act. People are using cleaner alternatives to oil and are recycling.

One of the very few positives in this terrible time of fighting the pandemic, having our certainty turned uncertain, and having to social distance, might be the benefit of the planet. We are more than likely driving less, shopping less, taking the train less, and probably producing less garbage. Instead, we are likely taking more time outdoors — walking or biking — and appreciating nature. Or we might be taking the time at home to spring clean, simplify, declutter and recycle.

Perhaps those lessons of simplicity and living with less are ones we can bring with us into the hopefully soon return to normalcy. We might be taking our time to walk instead of drive — to wear what we have on instead of shop — and to grow our own vegetables versus an unnecessary run to the grocery store. All of this can help celebrate Earth Day.

Another important aspect of Earth Day is remembering we are not its only inhabitants. This is the time of year when many baby animals can be spotted — and sometimes mistaken for abandoned. Use caution and give these animal families their space.

Remember that you can do something to protect the environment every day of the year, not just on Earth Day — this year, more than ever.