How to Celebrate Earth Day Everyday

by Belinda Munoz on April 15, 2010

earth day

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. ~Native American Proverb

This post, in anticipation of Earth Day on April 22nd, is a follow up to Our Sick Earth which presents ideas on how we can become better stewards of the earth everyday.

ARE WE HUMANS CAUSING CLIMATE CHANGE?

There is overwhelming information that the answer is yes.  This disturbing, keep-you-up-at-night reality, whether too real or too preposterous, is far easier to deny than to accept for some.  Regardless of the physical evidence and alarming statistics available that support this assertion, there will always be those who won’t be convinced.  Always.

Fine.

So then, let’s back away from this question and ask some new ones: Are we humans in an abusive relationship with the earth? Do we not take and take and take from her while giving nothing back? When we switch our thinking this way, maybe all the proof, indicating that our appetite for more and bigger things is disturbing the earth’s balance, won’t be so easy to discredit.

WHAT CAN WE DO TO BE KINDER TO THE EARTH?

There are many things I can be doing in addition to my current practices.  For starters, the junk mail needs to stop.  My nightstand is a precarious tower of mail and books that threatens to topple at the slightest nudge.  Here’s a link that provides instructions on how to stop the influx of junk mail here in the U.S.

AS INDIVIDUALS, AS COMMUNITY LEADERS

There’s not a shortage of things we can do to heal our ailing planet.  At the same time, being green doesn’t have to be boring at all.  As you may know of my affinity for alliterations, I’ve created the Alliterative Daily Green Earth (working title, please bear with me):

Meatless Mondays — Forego meat on Mondays if you’re an omnivore.  (credit: Integrated Archive Systems)
Telecommute Tuesdays — Skip the commute and work from home on Tuesdays.
Walking Wednesdays — Walk everywhere instead of drive on Wednesdays.
Thrifty Thursdays — Buy nothing on Thursdays.  Tip: leave your wallet at home.
Factory Farm-free Fridays — Consume nothing that is grown in factory farms on Fridays.
Sacrifice Saturdays — Give something up that doesn’t do much for our planet on Saturdays.  One idea is to unplug all electronics at home including laptops.  If this idea is a success, I expect the sacrifice will turn into a blessing.
Sexy Sundays — This is your payoff after the previous day.  Open to where your imagination may lead you as long as it doesn’t hurt the earth on Sundays.

For the top 50 things to do to stop global warming, click here.

This previous list is rather long.  So, if you’re so green that you refuse to print said list, but your memory is less than stellar like mine, resort to the five Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Restore, Regift.  Click here for ideas from Greenfeet.

For more ideas, click here to read what some of the readers of this blog have suggested.

AS PARENTS

Just as the earth is experiencing more challenges now than it did during our childhood, so, too, will she be in worse shape than she’s in now when our kids are grown.  It is critical for parents to learn to:

  1. Show our children what you know about recycling, composting, consuming less, etc.  Lead by example.
  2. Teach our children how to love people, not material things.
  3. Carpool as a family or walk or ride bikes to school and work.
  4. Refrain from buying more toys for our children.  Instead, play sports with them or simply go on talking-walking excursions or run around outdoors.
  5. Avoid heavily packaged products.  We can save 1,200 pounds of carbon dioxide if we cut down our garbage by 10%. (source: Integrated Archive Systems)
  6. If we must shop, bring our own bring our own shopping bags and buy only the things we need.
  7. Take our children to Goodwill or Salvation Army when you drop off donations.  Educate them on ways to act charitably.

AS BUSINESS OWNERS

Never underestimate your influence on your employees or your team.  There are many creative ways to foster a green working atmosphere:

  1. Create an official, written environmental policy for your operation that includes green practices and resources.
  2. Promote a green mindset by providing a reusable water bottle or coffee mug for each employee.
  3. Train/Encourage your employees to participate in your operation’s green initiatives.
  4. Provide a weekly box of locally grown organic fruits.
  5. Build a library of educational books such as Eating Animals, The Omnivore’s Dilemma and films such as No Impact Man, Food, Inc., etc., and lend them to your employees.
  6. Offer a hybrid car program whereby employees are encouraged with financial subsidy to purchase a hybrid vehicle.
  7. Use only green office supplies and electronic equipment.

(Entire section inspired by Integrated Archive Systems)

AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP NO MORE

Inasmuch as the earth gives us life, gives us the food we eat, gives us the air we breathe, it’s fair to assume we do not do nearly as much for her as she does for us.  So then, What do we do for the earth?  To answer this questions, perhaps it would help to ask another question: What are we willing to do for someone who shows us unconditional love? Maybe then, we will be more compelled to love her back.

+++++++++++

Image by jurvetson

{ 2 trackbacks }

Earth Day « Nicki's Thoughts, Art & Friends
April 22, 2010 at 4:38 am
Mother May I? — the halfway point
April 19, 2011 at 3:03 pm

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tony Single April 15, 2010 at 4:48 am

Can I get an “Amen” on that? 🙂

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2 Cheryl Paris April 15, 2010 at 6:44 am

Hello Belinda,

It is a beautiful post and a real eye opener. We need to save the earth and its resources for our children. Great handful tips to save the earth. Just love those – btw I am vegetarian. 🙂

Bye for now,
Cheryl

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3 Belinda Munoz April 15, 2010 at 8:03 am

@Tony, sounds about right. Thx for your enthusiasm.

@Cheryl, thank you! I’m not completely vegetarian yet as I eat fish and don’t turn down dishes made for me by others when I visit their homes, but I do love vegetarian meals of beans and greens, veggie burgers, anything with tofu and nibbling on snacks like hummus, carrots and celery and things like that.

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4 Tess The Bold Life April 15, 2010 at 9:00 am

Hi Belinda,
Your list is fantastic. My car is a VW bug that is 11 years old. It’s still going strong but eventually when it dies I’m seriously considering being a one car family. (hubs doesn’t know this yet). His Prius is earth friendly and because we’re together most of the time I can’t see putting one dime in another car. Happy Earth Day to you!

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5 Davina April 15, 2010 at 9:58 am

Hi Belinda.
You’ve put a lot of thought into this and it shows. Excellent advice you’ve shared here. I think it all starts with appreciation. If more people would just stop to appreciate the Earth and the beauty here, how the planet supports their life, they would take greater care.

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6 Lauren April 15, 2010 at 11:45 am

Dear Belinda,

Thank you for giving us a great post as a reminder to honor and love mother earth. We indeed are the stewards. I like the weekly list – especially Sunday 😉

And thank you for the link to eliminate junk mail!

Hope all is well in the Bay!

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7 Sara April 15, 2010 at 11:58 am

Belinda — I loved what you did with the days of week, especially Sunday. It was a clever and fun way to bring attention to things we can do each day for our planet.:~)

One additional thing I’ve added to my list of “greener” activities is to pay as many bills as possible online, thereby saving paper…and hopefully trees!!

Thanks for reminding me (and others) of the simple, everyday things we can do to keep Earth healthy:~)

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8 Patty - Why Not Start Now? April 15, 2010 at 12:48 pm

You’re a wise one to reframe the question, Belinda. That said, I loved the reply you gave in your comments section on Monday. There is far too much hard science available to deny it. But I digress. With your gift for alliteration, you make me (and hopefully others) want to approach it as play, joy, fun. And perhaps even expand on it with our own alliteration. How about Movie Mondays? In hot weather, go to a movie on Monday nights and save energy by not running the A/C. Or Fluorescent Fridays? Replace one bulb each Friday. Or, piggy-backing on Sara’s idea, Time Saving Tuesdays, when we pay our bills online and not only save paper, but time as well. You know, I think I could get into this game! So thanks!

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9 Greg Blencoe April 15, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Hi Belinda,

I love your passion! And I absolutely love this sentence:

“What are we willing to do for someone who shows us unconditional love?”

Wow, I never thought of the Earth this way, but it is 100% true. The Earth gives us unconditional love. It is truly staggering when you think about all that we are given from Earth (basically, EVERYTHING!).

Thanks so much for giving me this new perspective. This mindset makes me even more grateful for what Earth gives us.

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10 Phil - Less Ordinary Living April 16, 2010 at 7:06 am

Belinda –

I love your alliterative approach. Totally terrific. It is often confusing trying to figure out how to be sustainable, but I think you have laid out some really clear (and perhaps more importantly fun) steps we can all take to start out. We are a zip car driving, low meat eating, recycling family but there is still a lot more to do if we are to sort this mess out. Keep campaigning and thank you!

Phil

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11 jane woodman April 16, 2010 at 2:26 pm

belinda, this is brilliant. thank you.

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12 Kristen @ Motherese April 17, 2010 at 11:43 am

Hi Belinda – Thank you so much for this concrete, constructive list. I especially appreciated your list of ways to impart environmental lessons to our kids. I inadvertently gave my toddler a strong dose of green the other day when reading him The Lorax for the first time. He became so sad while listening to the book that he insisted on planting a tree to make up for the ones that had been chopped down in the book. He and I compromised and we now have seven tiny sunflower plants sprouting in our window.

Sorry I’m breaking the Sacrifice Saturday commandment right now! Maybe I’ll make today Sexy and tomorrow Sacrificial. 😉

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13 Keith Davis April 18, 2010 at 1:24 am

Hi Belinda
Junk mail, junk newspapers, free newspapers… all have to stop.
For my own part I try and take the train or even walk.

Good news is that my daughter is more aware of environmental problems than my generation is… they are educated about it at school.

Keep reminding us Belinda and some of us may start to take action.

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14 Nadia - Happy Lotus April 18, 2010 at 1:19 pm

Hi Belinda,

Your passion and commitment shines through loud and clear. Amen for making every day Earth day!

There is a great book by Renee Loux called “Easy Green Living”. It is the encyclopedia on how to be green. We used this book to change our lifestyle to be as environmentally conscious as possible. We are already vegans but we changed all our cleaning products, beauty products and so on. The best part is that it was not that expensive.

As you so beautifully pointed out, the Earth loves us unconditionally…it is only fair that we return that love by being as kind to nature as we can. The way I see it, the volcanic ash over Europe is further proof that no one should mess with Mother Nature.

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15 Aidan Donnelley Rowley @ Ivy League Insecurities April 19, 2010 at 2:46 am

Philosophically and practically speaking, this is such an important post. One that I will come back to. And your Alliterative Daily Green Earth? Clever and compelling. You are not just a phenomenal writer, Belinda. You are an instigator of change. Thank you!

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16 Amber April 19, 2010 at 7:16 pm

I read this on Sunday and thought I commented. Apparently not!

My husband had an interesting argument with a friend on Facebook. This particular friend still denied the existence of global warming. It was both frustrating and enlightening to read her points. I must say, my husband won the argument (not that I am biased or anything).

Anyway, we are doing our best to cut down our waste. It really is the little things that matter!

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17 Eva April 20, 2010 at 12:12 pm

I love alliteration!

Even more, I like the idea of trying just one thing each day. It’s a good way (at least in the beginning) to work green actions into our lives. And then as we become more comfortable with some things, hopefully we will do them more often than weekly.

Restore – that’s a really good one. “Reduce, reuse, recycle” was taught to me in school, but the idea of lovingly restoring something to its former splendor is so powerful. We get so caught up in buying new things, but why not go to Craigslist or Freecycle or a garage sale and find something even better?

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