Happy (B)Earth Day! Birthdays are an occasion for celebration, are they not? They are not a time for wringing our hands – so let’s not go there…
As an environmental activist for 21 years now, I know there’s plenty to wring our hands about. I’m well aware of the number & incredible complexity of the serious issues that constitute “the environmental crisis.” The situation can only accurately be described as very grave indeed – but I’m not into doom & gloom. Hand-wringing is just not fun!
This Earth Day, I suggest we all adopt an appropriately celebratory attitude. Let’s celebrate the beauty of the amazing Universe & wondrous Earth of which we are a part. Look around. Be grateful for sky & air & water & birds (all the creatures) and the sun…especially the sun! Every single thing that happens here on Earth is a solar event; it’s true!
Be thankful. Gratitude is actually quite magical! The more we indulge in it, the more it grows. We soon begin to feel grateful for things we’d long taken for granted. In time, with practice, we begin to want to protect this abundant, beautiful planet.
Think it’s too late? Well, I don’t have a crystal ball. I can’t offer any planetary warranties.
I can assure you that whereas apathy & despair are energy-drainers, action generates energy. I can also attest from plenty of personal experience that passionate activism is good for the soul & spirit.
Very long-time activist Lester Brown, of the Earth Policy Institute, says: “Saving our civilization is not a spectator sport.”
I know a lot of activists like me who know these things for sure: the future for our species and this planet is uncertain; the problems we face are numerous, scary, & seemingly intractable; the outcome of our activism is not at all certain; & finally, we’re in it for the long haul, no matter what (for many of us, there’s simply no other game in town!).
Activism is its own reward.
So take the plunge this Earth Day. Celebrate the beauty & abundance of this stunning planet.
Find out where you fit in.
Read Paul Hawken’s wonderfully inspiring book Blessed Unrest – How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming, and be amazed to learn how many millions of groups & individuals around the globe are dedicated to changing the world.
Check out Guy Dauncey, activist extraordinaire from Victoria, B.C., whose books, newsletters, Web site, talks & activism are fantastically inspiring! Buy his awesome & very well regarded book The Climate Challenge – 101 Solutions to Global Warming, & let it get you going. Watch his DVD “The Great Energy Revolution – Practical Solutions to the Climate Crisis and Peak Oil” – it’s a real energy booster!
Check out Elisabet Sahtouris, world-renowned evolution biologist, author & activist, who believes we can work miracles by learning to understand and mimic Mother Nature. Sahtouris believes life evolves from a “hostile competitive phase” to a “mature, cooperative” one. Her work & her words are very compelling! Watch her DVD “Crisis as Opportunity: Living Better on a Hotter Planet,” and allow it to inspire & energize you.
Go to the site of the Ontario Environment Network & find out what the groups in your area are up to. Join one. Support one (or several), or start a new one!!
Calculate your household’s carbon footprint. This exercise might motivate you into taking some personal action to reduce your contribution to climate change (it motivated me to take a bus across Canada last year, when I realized the impact air travel has on my “footprint”).
If you do nothing else this Earth Day, at least begin looking around you more. This Earth we inhabit is one very stunning place!
10 Things You Can Do:
- Start with small, incremental changes and work up steadily (better that than tackling too much at once and becoming overwhelmed).
- Work at creating less garbage. Reduce – reuse – recycle – compost – refuse to buy over-packaged stuff (buy in bulk) and so on… Buy a reusable coffee mug & stop using those darn cups you use for two minutes, then trash. Visit here for more tips.
- Find alternatives for toxic cleaners, cosmetics, etc. (See here)
- Practice organic lawn & garden care. Learn to chill out about the diversity in Nature, which never intended us to have boring lawns. Great tips and information on this issue here
- Learn how the way we eat affects the planet
- Choose to not be a car owner! If you do own one, drive it less – & don’t buy a gas guzzler! Walk, bike & use public transit more (we’ll all breathe easier!). See here
- Cut down on energy use of all kinds – & save money while you’re at it! (Tips here)
- Read! Join a group! Donate money to groups doing work you particularly value. Check here for Ontario groups you can join and/or support. Start an environmental film night in your neighbourhood/town/office…
- Love Nature and teach your children to appreciate it from an early age. Go for walks & canoe & bike rides & cross-country ski (activities that don’t cause damage). We’re always more mindful of looking after what we cherish…
- Have fun; lighten up! None of us can “save the planet” overnight, & it can be discouraging work – so make friends, do some fun things & be sure to enjoy yourself while you’re at it!