I was part of the very first Earth Day. It was the best school day EVER. We made posters and picked up litter at the park and planted a tree. It can certainly seem disheartening to look at all the decades gone and how in some ways the climate and the environment seem so much worse. The lake where we picked up the litter has been closed to swimming for decades. Seriously, I am disabled with MCS (multiple chemical sensitivities) from the high levels of toxicity in the world. As you read this you probably had a shift — maybe a subtle one — but a shift from smiling for the happy little girl to the utter hopelessness of the enormity of the pollution in the world.
Here’s the deal. How ever you view this world is going to determine what you will do today and every day that follows. If you see the good in it — you will arrange your day to seek out more good. If you think that everything is a fight then you will find more things to fight.
I added one word to the title from what many will just call Earth Day — APPRECIATION. If you go help pick up litter today — at the end of the day instead of standing there all proud of the pile of filled garbage bags you’ve collected — instead appreciate the beauty of the land you’ve cleared. Appreciate all the people who converted to solar power this year. Appreciate that 195 countries committed to making positive changes for the global community.
Appreciate even simple changes. Last year, I bought an electric lawn mower. I love that there is no toxic oil to change and no toxic gas to put in the tank and no toxic fumes coming out of the exhaust. It’s quieter and so much easier to start. Embrace the least toxic way to complete your task.
Appreciate when communities work together. You can see some of the earlier revitalization of Lake Neatahwanta in this post. The lake is co-owned by the City of Fulton and the Town of Granby. Fulton does not have the money to continue dredging this year to open up the natual springs. Granby owns a dredger. Granby had a choice. They could have said we are only going to dredge our side of the lake. Instead, they agreed that the area that most needs to be dredged is what was the former beach (on the Fulton side). There is not my side and your side of the lake. There is only what is best for the lake and the environment.
Pause before you alter the landscape. I have a flower bed that is so overgrown, I decided it was easier to dig it all up and start over. As I prepared to dig up the last patch, I noticed that the forget-me-nots were in bloom. Most importantly they are the only flowers in my yard in bloom. The forget-me-nots were definitely not forgotten. The bees were very busy collecting pollen from the only food source available. And so the plants stayed.
If it has been a while since you’ve appreciated a tree for the shade or oxygen it gives, today is a good day to start. When was the last time you stopped and allowed yourself to be absorbed by the joy of a bird singing? Do you step out of your house so that you feel the rain on your face and appreciate how it will soon bring new vibrancy to the world around you? Does the sight of an earthworm make you smile because you know you’re going to have rich soil? Are you happy in the Spring when you get to spread the compost that you created from yard “waste” the year before? Do you smile as you have a cup of tea on the back deck watching your laundry on the line drying with the use of no electricity? Yes, these are all things I appreciated this last week.
Humans are the number one species for altering the planet. Maybe today we could spend some of the frantic-got-to-make-it-better-faster… energy on appreciating the gifts that nature has already given us.
I’d love to hear what you appreciate about the Earth that we share. How will you spend Earth Day 2016?