I love Earth Day. I really do. There were many wonderful posts about Earth Day, including a full series of important tips, strategies, and new ways to think about your life from Cable Girl of 42. You can go here - reduce waste, here - cleaning green, here - water conservation, and here - home energy conservation and green baby for her guides.
My problem with Earth Day, which is also my problem with things like Black History Month, is that by relegating these things to a specific date or month or whatever, we can kind of feel like, "Yeah, we acknowledged that, now it's time to move on to other things."
But we really can't just move on from the problems our Earth is encountering right now. (Nor can we just relegate Black History to one month, but that's a topic for another day). While it's good to have reminders, like Earth Day, it's enormously important to think about what we can do on a daily basis, and make a commitment by doing it.
If I think about two of our biggest issues on this planet, I would, as an American, go to fossil fuels and food. Yes, we also need wind and solar power, we need to find out why our honey bees are dying off, we absolutely need to think about how we're going to have sustainable water for the future and manufacturing companies need to be reined in.
In terms of fossil fuels, we need a much better public transportation infrastructure in this country. The fact that we have little or no bus or train systems in most of our communities have much to do with how the oil companies and auto industry have held sway for all these years. What those choices have meant, in today's world, can be fodder for many, many other entries.
In terms of food, there are myriad decisions we can make on a daily basis. Betsy of Blogness Monster provided a perfect post (April 16) about why we need to steer away (no pun intended) from our love affair with meat. There's no doubt that meat takes enormous amounts of grain to produce, grain that could be used to feed people. We can't supplant the meat with fish, as we're overfishing our oceans and ruining ocean ecosystems, especially as we over fish high on the food chain.
If we do go vegan, we'd better be doing something about our honey bees, as Bleeding Espresso warns us in her post on this urgent matter.
And, of course, if we don't buy local or grow our own, we're running, big time, into the fossil fuel issue again. In terms of buying local and buying organic and the cost issue, The Farmer's Marketer had some interesting points on that.
The reason I've been ruminating, is that at Chez Jen we've been in a long, and too slow, process of simplifying and trying to lead a greener life. As I've tried to meditate on Earth Day this week, I've thought about where we've already gone and where we still need to go. I'm not going to delineate all that for you here. Really, many blogs have done this already. If you WANT to make changes, there are plenty of resources out there.
I guess, what I am asking you to think about, is what are you doing for change? What can you do for change?
The wonderful thing that I've learned through this whole process is that in making these changes, our lives have become much richer. Truly. And that's not said from a "righteous" feeling. Honestly, there's so much I can still do, I don't feel in the least righteous about my choices - I feel like I'm barely, barely scratching the surface. But as I have made changes in our lives, and as I've watched D and C trying to make their own choices and changes, our world has become quieter.
We have less visual clutter. We have fewer things to manage and more time to manage, instead. Time to geocache, to read, to write, to cook things from scratch. We're out doors more and in front of electronics less. We're eating simpler foods which are tasting better. We're more aware of our local delights because we're trying not to use the car much. We're rediscovering our legs and soon, our bikes.
You can find tons of articles about the fact that a. global warming doesn't exist and none of this matters (I'm not EVEN going to go there), and b. due to China's and India's polluting, what anyone else chooses to do doesn't matter.
It matters because it's a good way to live. It matters because we all need to slow down and have time to enjoy our lives, not the "things" in them. It matters because we need to love our Mother. We go to the polls and vote. This is a vote for our home.
If you do nothing else for your loved ones this week, and you have the time/inclination, do some ruminating on how you can make your life/lives better and better the lives of others. After all, it's rather interconnected, don't you think?
You could be happy you took the time.