5 Ways to Show Gratitude for the Planet This Thanksgiving

November 18, 2019

The holiday season is upon us. During this special time of year, many of us find ways to slow down and take a break from our hectic schedules to spend time with friends and family.

Thanksgiving, specifically, gives us all a reason to show our loved ones how much they mean to us. It also reminds us of the many things we can be thankful for. List toppers include being grateful for our family, friends, and continued good health.

As we gather this year to give thanks, we can also think about how wonderful it is to live here on Earth. From its magnificent natural settings to the sound of a rushing waterfall, our lovely planet gives us so many sights, sounds, and experiences to enjoy. More importantly, Earth’s abundant natural resources sustain our lives.

With the harsh effects of climate change threatening our planet, we all need to do our part to protect and preserve the Earth for future generations.

This holiday, we can start making a difference by finding ways to show our gratitude for the planet on Thanksgiving.

Take a Nature Walk

In this fast-paced digital age, many of us spend most of our days looking at some form of screen. Whether we’re texting a family member, writing an email, doing a spreadsheet or spending recreational time playing a video game or reading social media posts, a lot of us don’t spend much time outdoors enjoying nature.

Though temperatures have dropped in many places, it’s easy to get bundled up and take a walk through the park, a community garden, or even through the city streets, and notice the birds in the sky, the remaining fall leaves on the trees and other beautiful sights. For New Yorkers, Central Park and New York Botanical Gardens are two of the city’s most popular natural spaces.

Wherever you go, pay attention to your surroundings and use your five senses to really focus and appreciate the natural space.

Give Thanks for Your Food

Giving thanks for your food before you dive into your Thanksgiving feast is probably the easiest way to show gratitude for the Earth. Many dishes on the table including turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, and homemade pumpkin pie all came from the Earth or contain ingredients from the Earth. So, before you enjoy them, take a moment to express your thanks for the food.

Volunteer at an Environmental Charity

Doing random acts of kindness for others is so uplifting for both the giver and receiver. To give back to the Earth, you could spend some time volunteering at a local environmental charity. GrowNYC in New York is a leading environmental nonprofit that always welcomes volunteers. You can help distribute fresh, healthy food to surrounding communities, work at a recycling event, help collect food scraps for composting, and donate a bag of Thanksgiving food to those in need and more.

Visit the Zoo or an Animal Shelter

The many different animals who populate the Earth add to its beauty and showcase wildlife’s wondrous diversity. By visiting or volunteering at a nearby zoo or animal shelter, you are showing gratitude to the planet. Spending time appreciating and caring for animals is an easy and rewarding way to show thanks for the many creatures that share our terrestrial home.

Throughout New York, the Wildlife Conservation Society hosts annual holiday toy drives at the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, New York Aquarium, and Queens Zoo. If you visit one of these places, dropping an unwrapped toy in a collection bin will also help brighten up a child’s holiday.

Deliver Flowers to Hospitals or Senior Centers

Flowers are one of the prettiest and most abundant natural species that the Earth gives us. In fact, a report in the Royal Society Journal suggests there are more than 350,000 different kinds of flowering plants in the world.

A very simple way to honor the Earth is to spread kindness and smiles by giving flowers to those who might be lonely, sick, or upset over the holidays. Some people who might welcome them include nursing home residents, churches, and hospitals. Or, if you can show thanks to a friend or family member by sending them a colorful floral bouquet.

By Lori Melton