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Earth Day: Our HOME is our home

For Earth Day 2020, Alison Criddle, HOME’s Projects & Sustainability Coordinator, takes a look at the history of Earth Day and what it means for HOME and the creative community this year.

In nature, nothing exists alone. ― Rachel Carson, Silent Spring 

50 years ago on 22nd April 1970, the first Earth Day was held, marking the birth of a modern environmental movement. Creating a vision of change, Earth Day is recognised globally as a day to create positive action. That’s where you and I come in: as individuals, we hold real power and influence as members of a community who can unite for change. Our planet is our home.

The theme for Earth Day 2020 is climate action. The activities and events have moved online, bringing people together safely to create social change through digital gatherings. During this period of lockdown and global pandemic, it offers a time to unite with millions of others around the world in an outpouring of energy, enthusiasm and celebration of our planet and a commitment to ensuring its future.

It’s been a strange and unsettling few weeks. From my kitchen table that now serves as my desk, I’ve received countless emails from companies I don’t remember ever contacting reaching out to tell me that they’re here for me at this difficult time. But the one constant that’s always been there is the world beyond the kitchen window. The nature that surrounds my home contains an amazing network of species and interconnected ecosystems working together to create, grow, nourish and support one another.

Championing, respecting and nurturing the world around us is one of Manchester Climate Change Partnership’s 15 Actions towards a zero carbon city region. Trees absorb our carbon and clean the air we breathe. Pollinators work hard to ensure a steady supply of fruit and vegetables for our consumption. Parks are brilliant, and they’re for everyone.

Artists, creatives and makers have always looked to the natural world for inspiration. From the origins of photography (‘photos’ means ‘light’, ‘graphe’ means ‘writing’ = writing with light from our sun) to paint made from pigments from the earth, we as a community have a role to play in supporting the planet from which we benefit, and protecting its future. What we use, how we use it and what we do with it after tells a story about how humans interact with the world we inhabit.

Whilst I’m checking in on HOME’s rooftop honeybee hives daily via the webcam, I’m also taking the time to observe the pollinators who visit my own back yard. From big fuzzy bumblebees to the red admiral butterfly that fluttered over the washing line, I’ve been able to take the time to notice the transforming world around me.

Over the last few weeks whilst the news buzzes in the background, I’ve been able to take in the changing colour of leaves, bright cheerful daffodils followed by the confetti of cherry tree blossom caught on a breeze, and jogged past swathes of wild garlic out on the Fallowfield Loop whilst taking my daily socially-distanced exercise. I’ve sown some seeds indoors, making makeshift planters from old food containers and I’ve propagated my neglected spider plant – creating four more plants in the process. Being able to watch something grow has brought moments of quiet and calm.

Over the last two years since we welcomed them to our rooftop, the HOME honeybees have taught me a great deal about community, working together for a common purpose and with a shared aim, in harmony with the world around them. We’re doing the virtual equivalent of waggle dancing with zoom house party discos and pub quizzes. Whilst we might not be able to be in contact with one another, we’re all sharing the same home, the same planet.

Members of the HOME team and our amazing volunteers have been sharing their photos from their lockdown habitats. Our HOME is our home. We wish you a safe and nature-filled Earth day. We’d love you to share your stories with us.

Image: Sophie Preston, HOME honeybee.