Happy Earth Day everyone. I have seen the online stratosphere gearing up for today with the most American way that it can… sales!!! I am compassionate enough to recognize that as a culture we do not have many more ways to celebrate anything than to buy things for it, try to recreate manicured Pinterest boards for it, and then root for it like it is a football team. I am putting out my meek plea for you to pause for today though.
The intention of this day when it started in 1970 has mixed origins. Was it a national teach-in day about what we have done as a species to this planet? Was it a propaganda day for the newly forming Environmental Protection Agency? No matter the origins the events leading up to the designation from 1970 came from the ravages of a political climate in turmoil and significant environmental detriments.
Here we are in 2016 and our current political climate is pretty fractured. So is our connection to the environment. Going into 1970 the nation was besieged with Rachel Carson’s, “Silent Spring” eight years earlier and there is not any unifying book to gather us under a collective consciousness umbrella but I am going to introduce a contender. E.O. Wilson’s “Half Earth”
The book like many of Wilson’s writings encourages a connection with the biosphere. We often do not think of ourselves as interdependent with ecosystems and that is getting us in trouble with a loss of biodiversity and degradation of our natural resources. I encourage you to read this book or at least an article about this Pulitzer Prize winning piece that came out this year. A related Half Earth Project will be launched May 31st.
If you are not willing to see yourself as interdependent in your ecosystem then scale back and see if you can recognize how your consumer habits impact the natural resources they draw from.
For Earth Day I have a few ways to celebrate:
Do not fall for Earth Day sales of things you do not need. Do not go on a shopping spree as a way to celebrate from your computer.
Find some small connection to the natural world. A true heart connection. Go for a hike. Go to a spot where the sunshine can dapple on your shoulders and just sit there in silence to identify the sounds of what surrounds you (this can even be in your garden or a community garden). Look into the eyes of something wild and feel empathy with what is looking back at you (birds have eyes).
Keep it simple. If you can join an organized program for recycling, tree planting, or litter removal. You do not need to go out of your way to do those actions though – in their origins they would not be needed if people were more conscious consumers in the first place. This is why I push for conscious consumption first coupled with having a connection to the environment.
Happy Earth Day and remember, we are interdependent with this beautiful biosphere. Happy day to us. We are a part of the earth. xoxo