Home » We asked – “What Does Earth Day Mean to You?” We asked – “What Does Earth Day Mean to You?” April 21, 2021 Earth Day is today, April 22. And while every day it is important to care about our planet, it never hurts to take on day in particular to take an extra close look at our relationship with this marvelous planet. In honor of this year’s Earth Day – one year after the start of a global pandemic, and in the midst of a world waking up to the benefits and importance of regenerative agriculture – we reached out to a number of our Acres U.S.A. authors, event speakers, teachers and friends to get their take on what this day means to them, to us and to everyone. We hope you enjoy these snippets of thoughtful wisdom. Be sure to check out our social media channels where we’ll be posting these in shareable segments. Happy Earth Day. Gabe Brown Regenerative farmer and rancher, author and speaker Earth Day provides us with an opportunity to realize that healthy soil has the ability to unite us as a society. We can all agree that carbon in the soil and not in the atmosphere is a good thing. Clean water percolating through healthy soil is a good thing. Profitable farms and ranches due to healthy soil is a good thing. Nutrient-dense food grown and raised with healthy soils is a good thing. Let us unite on Earth Day! Mimi Casteel Hope Well Vineyard, regenerative grower As the first species to reach impact levels that stand shoulder to shoulder with the most powerful geophysical forces, humans are also the only species that require a calendar reminder to recall our utter dependency on this miraculous planet and its infinite gifts. All aspersions aside, the vastness of our mental landscape which has allowed us to forget that dependency, when focused on a collective purpose, is the key to our ethical and biological salvation. We have all the promise, all the courage, and all the will to heal this world. The last molecule and moment of every fragile life yearns for her grace; one more gentle breeze on the cheek, one last cool drink of clean water, one last breath of blossom-soaked air. Let us not gamble on it. Doug Fine Regenerative hemp grower, author, speaker and instructor For me, every day is Earth Day — in our day-to-day as regenerative hemp farmers here on the Funky Butte Ranch (with other superfood also growing in our polyculture garden), we are consciously building native soil even as we feed ourselves and develop hemp products. There are two main reasons: 1) Building soil sequesters carbon, which extends humanity’s tenure here on Earth (hence every day is Earth Day), and 2) We believe the best, most fragrant, tasty and bioavailable hemp products result!. Happy Every Day is Earth Day, everyone! Carey Gillam Journalist, author and speaker Earth Day is a reminder to us all that we should care for the earth as we care for our children because the two are inextricably linked: when the planet suffers, we ensure our children and their children will suffer. If we can all work to nurture and sustain this planet we share, we provide a healthier home for our future generations. Gerry Gillespie Author, speaker, researcher and advocate Earth Day is an important reminder of our need to care for all aspects of the environment which surrounds and supports us – giving us both life and the basis for a healthy future. Some of the most striking illustrations of our cavalier attitudes to the environment in Australia are our on-going clearing of land and our treatment of soils. We have demonstrated many times in Australia that land clearing for crops for animal production, results in only short-term success before soil quality declines and the land becomes unproductive and degraded. Soil health is important not only for our food production systems and exports but also for all remaining native and introduced species. Since the British arrived in Australia, it is believed that there are at least 24 birds, seven frogs, and 27 mammals which have become extinct since that first settlement. A great deal of this irreparable tragedy was caused by mistakes such as the destruction of soils, forests and waterways and release of feral animals such as cats, dogs, pigs and horses into the balanced Australian environment. It is far better that we are prepared to learn and change our ways when we are clearly wrong rather than push the environment beyond breaking point. Earth Day reminds us that we are on a relatively small planet in a vast and balanced universe and we must care for every aspect of Earth’s environment to continue to live harmoniously on its complex but shallow surface. Soil is the basis of all life and the mother of us all. Keefe Keeley Co-executive Director of the Savanna Institute To be a farmer, at any point in history, means you grow food. You steward the land—soil, water, air, energy, plants, and animals—and make a living from its increase. It seems simple, at least in purpose, if not in practice: Grow good food. Now, in the twenty-first century, awareness is growing that we depend on farmers for more than food. We need farmers and their farmland to sequester carbon, to buffer against floods, and to provide wildlife habitat. Perhaps less evidently, we also need farms to inspire us with their beauty, to cultivate our respect and awe of the more-than-human, and to light the pathways to a more just and prosperous world. This is a lot to ask of farmers, but the scope of climate change and biodiversity loss demands more than isolated solutions such as limiting emissions and protecting forests can accomplish. Moreover, ethical pursuit of a better world will not harbor sacrifice of some places or some people for the betterment of the privileged ones. Looking ahead to the twenty-first century, in 1996 Paul Johnson, then chief of the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), wrote, “a land comprised of wilderness islands at one extreme and urban islands at the other, with vast food and fiber factories in between, does not constitute a geography of hope.” As the ecological and social crises of this century unfold, with the sum-total impacts of agriculture pushing us beyond planetary boundaries, we need farmers to nurture the geography of hope. Read more from Keefe Keeley here. André Leu International Director of Regeneration International, author and speaker Simply being sustainable is not enough. Do we want to sustain the current status quo or do we want to improve and rejuvenate it? Regeneration improves systems. We need to regenerate our societies so we must be proactive in ensuring that others have access to land, education, healthcare, income, the commons, participation, inclusion and empowerment. This must include women, men and youths across all ethnic and racial groups. On Earth Day, Regeneration International, with our 360 partner organizations in 70 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Oceania, North America and Europe, will continue to promote, facilitate and accelerate the global transition to regenerative food, farming and land management for the purpose of restoring climate stability, ending world hunger and rebuilding deteriorated social, ecological and economic systems. Our vision to is to achieve a healthy global ecosystem in which practitioners of regenerative agriculture and land use, in concert with consumers, educators, business leaders and policymakers, cool the planet, nourish the world and restore public health, prosperity and peace on a global scale. Read more from André Leu on Earth Day here. W. Joe Lewis Professor, researcher and author Our disconnect from nature – her beauty, her power, her amazing ability to give – is, more than anything, the greatest threat to our survival. Earth Day is a critical tool in rebuilding that vital connection. Nicole Masters Author, speaker and researcher Where would we be without our precious soil resources? For me, there is no separation between our inner and outer landscapes. As land becomes more degraded, parched and biologically bereft, it is left producing lower quality foods with higher needs for artificial inputs, suffering the effects from compounding autoimmune disorders. Just like the people who rely upon it. From the microscopic to the tallest of trees, the land we stand on, the soil through our hands, the air we breathe and the water we drink. Every day is a good day to celebrate our precious Earth day and embrace ecological ways of producing food. Judith McGeary Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance (FARFA) Executive Director, and speaker Earth Day is the perfect time to remember that human survival depends on our soils. This year, Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance is working to pass a healthy soils bill in Texas, along with other reforms, because we need our government, society, and individuals to support regenerative land management for the sake of our planet and our future. MOSES Nonprofit organization Earth Day shines a light on ways each of us can protect the planet. A simple step: choose organic whenever you can. Organic farming promotes clean water, healthy soils, abundant pollinators, and combats climate change. Bob Quinn Regenerative grower, author and speaker “Earth Day means a lot more to me today than it did 50 years ago. … Everything is interrelated, so what we do here on our farm eventually it ties us even in to the Gulf of Mexico, because that’s where the water that falls on our farm ends up eventually.” Watch Bob’s full comments here: Mark Shepard Regenerative grower, author, speaker and instructor My first reaction to “Earth Day”, is that it seems to me to be a cheapening of humanity’s relationship to the planet; the planet that provides us with air to breathe, water to drink, food to eat, shelter and more. It seems to me a bit like how the marketing world co-opted the term “Natural” and later “Organic” and “regenerative”… a way to dilute something that’s really important. Maybe that’s what HAS happened to “Earth Day”… If we give it one day per year, then we can celebrate it once a year then bury our heads in the sand once more and do nothing to fundamentally change how we live on this planet. This planet is INCREDIBLE! Farmers and homesteaders “GET IT!”… We understand the cycles of birth and death, and decay and renewal. Balance and LIFE! in all of its beautiful forms. As land managers, lets’ renew our efforts with the greening of spring, and make a REAL ecological difference on this planet en-masse and in a hurry… Lets find some degraded land, “acquire it” however we can, restore the hydrological cycle, re-plant agroforestry systems that mimic natural plant community types and lets produce food, fuels, medicines, building materials and MORE! Let’s take the 49% of the USA that is in agriculture and let’s regenerate ecosystem function and LIFE for all creatures, all while living a GOOD LIFE and making a REAL DIFFERENCE for our children and the future. Chris Smaje Farmer and author Every day is Earth Day for me, because I live and work on a small farm where I’m continually reminded how my life is inextricably connected with the lives of countless other organisms through the air, the water and the thin shared skin of the soil. Every day is Earth Day for everyone, because the Earth is our home – the only one we’ll have. I’m grateful to the far-sighted people back in 1970 who came up with the idea of Earth Day and helped make these truths political. The fact there are still 364 other days in the year that are not Earth Day is the measure of our present political challenge. Abbey Smith Global network coordinator for Savory Institute and director of the Jefferson Center for Holistic Management “I think it’s a time to bring awareness to the work that we do every day to improve the health of our soil, and of our environment, and it’s a time to celebrate each other and the work that we’re doing.” Watch her entire comment here: Gary Zimmer Regenerative grower, author, speaker and instructor Let me start with Earth Day, way back in 1970 when it was first started by our Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin. It was an event I remember well, a wake up call, a call for us all to question what we were doing with and to our planet. I was in graduate school and Rachel Carson’s book was a must read. This and many practices we were questioning about farming certainly lead me down the path to Biological/Organic Farming. There was a better way. Fifty years later there is still a lot we have to do, at least now we recognize what we have been doing to the land and livestock needs regeneration. A lot of positive action have been taken since then but we certainly have more to do but now we have a map to follow for clean healthy farming. It’s exciting! Countryside Communities Ann Accetta-Scott, A Farm Girl in the Making As the world recognizes Earth Day I find myself stopping and thinking about the farmers, homesteaders, and the individuals who seek to live sustainable lives and own their food source. Our goal has always been to minimize our footprints left behind with little to no damage to the land which provides for us. This is not something new, this is our life and shall always be the way we live. Marissa Ames, Ames Family Farm Editor of Backyard Poultry Magazine and Goat Journal Self-sufficiency begins at ground level. Healthy soils feed healthy plants and trees, which then feed us or our livestock. Caring about the Earth’s immune system – its soil – protects our future. Stacy Benjamin, 5R. Farm Earth Day is the perfect time to incorporate companion plantings in your garden. They can help retain soil moisture, decrease pests and attract pollinators. There are lots of options including flowers as well as vegetable companions. Janet Garman, Timber Creek Farm Earth Day is the perfect day to think about how our farming practices impact our planet. Are we using techniques that help regenerate soil such as composting, and rotational grazing? What can we improve on? On our piece of Earth we are learning and incorporating silvopasture grazing to best utilize our land and keep the forest healthy. Our managed hardwood forest is selectively thinned every 5-8 years. This allows new trees to flourish and prevents damage from older trees falling during weather extremes. Thinning the tree canopy is good practice for managing a hardwood forest. Michelle Marine, Simplify Live Love Earth Day Every Day might sound like a cliché, but one of the reasons we love homesteading is because of the positive impact it helps us have on the Earth. Composting, growing food, raising meat, and providing electricity are things we do each and every day with the Earth and our own health in mind.