M2D1: The Earth Strikes Back?

Today begins our second month of staying at home. We started a bit later than some people and a bit earlier than the official Colorado stay-at-home order (which went into effect March 26) since we were traveling abroad in mid-March and chose to self-isolate upon our return. We are fortunate to be able to work from home and we have good internet and reliable grocery delivery, so we know we are among the lucky ones. As our state transitions from stay-at-home to safer-at-home this weekend, we will continue to stay home and attempt not to impact the total social interactions. Gov. Polis’ target is a 65% reduction of social interactions from normal levels for the safer-at-home period, compared to a 75% reduction during stay-at-home. Presumably, staying home if you can helps those who need to get back to work (or other important interactions) more safely do so.

Today is also Earth Day. The 50th Anniversary of the first Earth Day in 1970, in fact. I really enjoyed Dan Rather’s post about this and NASA had some great activities for celebrating #EarthDayatHome.

I was wondering though, if this Earth Day is about the Earth doing what the natural world does in response to stress. As a chemist, I think about the need for (or more accurately, tendency toward) equilibrium. When a reaction system is out of balance, the system will shift to restore equilibrium. Ecosystems do the same. As we work to contain the virus and keep as many people alive and healthy as possible, we also need to think about the factors that have pushed Earth’s systems out of balance. And our reopening/rebuilding/renewal (whatever you choose to call it) needs to take those factors into consideration. This is not political, it’s about survival and flourishing. The environmental laws that came out of the original Earth Day era resulted in cleaner rivers and the resurgence of raptors and better air quality for all Americans, among so many other benefits. Let’s take care of people AND the only planet we’ve got.

Raptors seen from my place of isolation.

And now for a potentially whimsical “isolation month two” theme. Many of my friends are doing art in this time of quarantine. I won’t say I don’t want to do that, but I am still a grad student, so it seems a little beyond my bandwidth at the moment. What I have done is to dig out the LEGOs.

And buy more.

It is perhaps a little to easy to click click click and get what you want (as long as it’s not toilet paper that you want) delivered to your door. So I will build something from the new stash each day and reflect on it. I didn’t have the brain space to take on NASA’s #LetsBuildTogether challenge of building a planet…

So I just opened the slightly out of season Advent Calendar. There’s nothing like counting the days when you’re in isolation, right?

Day 1 was a small snowplow. What is it meant to clear away? Snow? Confusion? Sadness?

Day1 Snowplow

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