Ingrid – April 22, 2019

Here’s hoping you all had a wonderful Easter! The weather in Chicago was so beautiful, I made it a point to be outside nearly all weekend. The daffodils in our balcony planter are in full bloom, and the trees are wearing the fuzz that will soon become leaves and blossoms. Spring just may be my favorite time of year. As anyone who lives in Chicago knows, nothing is more welcome than the return of flora and fauna after a long winter.

Tree branches with tiny red flower buds.

This time of year, Mother Earth delights us with budding trees and blooming flowers.

How fitting that today is Earth Day and the kick-off to Earth Week. As a Dane, it’s in my DNA to help preserve the Earth and be a good steward of my natural surroundings. Tonight, I’m attending a showing of the film “Before the Flood,” featuring Leonardo DiCaprio and his trek across five continents to witness climate change firsthand and explore its impact with scientists and thought leaders. This film is part of Chicago’s week-long One Earth Mini Film Fest running today through Saturday.

While there are Earth Day celebrations and clean-up efforts all over Chicago today, I will be busy most of the day with a big work project. But on Saturday, my roommate Lindsay and I will be participating in Friends of the Parks’ 30th Annual Chicagoland Earth Day Parks and Preserves Clean-Up. Afterward, we plan go over to The Danish Home to visit Farfar, Lindsay’s grandfather and my dear friend, and see if we can be of any help tending to their grounds and burgeoning garden. I’m especially excited that The Danish Home’s capital campaign includes plans for garden enhancements!

Since 1970, Earth Day has been celebrated on April 22 in more than 193 countries across the globe, including Denmark, not to my surprise. One might even say that in Denmark, every day is Earth Day, because the homeland has continuously led the European Union in the drive for renewable energy sources and enforcing regulations that protect and sustain the environment and its various ecosystems.

It is policy in Denmark to reduce the use of fertilizer, and 72 percent of Copenhagen’s citizens have begun to sort their biowaste in order to create alternatives to fertilizer. Denmark also strives to recycle 70 percent of all its waste by the year 2024. Also in Copenhagen, a Climate Adaption Plan addresses UV radiation as well as the spread of water- and food-borne diseases, air quality and health effects, and biodiversity.

Last year on Earth Day, people in Copenhagen participated in a March for Science from the Niels Bohr Institute to the Danish Parliament in Christianborg. This and similar Danish marches were a little different than those in the U.S., which focus on policy change and political pressure. The marches in Denmark were more about how people can use science responsibly and how it can benefit society, without political manipulation.

The Danish flag cross next to a wind turbine.

Denmark is a world leader in clean, renewable sources of energy.

The March for Science in Denmark came at an opportune time, as it preceded the science festival Bloom, a week dedicated to science and research. In addition, members of the U.S. Embassy staff gathered at The Lakes, Copenhagen, to help clean up the area. “The clean-up demonstrates that our embassy is a good Copenhagen neighbor and shows our commitment to keeping a clean and healthy environment in Denmark,” said an Embassy representative.

While I will spend most of today in my office, I will be sure to get outside at lunch and after work to enjoy another warm, spring day. Maybe you can, too. Perhaps you can even stop by The Danish Home to see the expansive, spring green lawn and lovely garden and say hello to the friendly residents and staff there.

Let’s celebrate the Earth and all its inhabitants!