The Truth About Earth Day

By | April 22, 2014

LifeI woke up to rain and cloud-shrouded hills. I remembered it was Earth Day because yesterday we had a conversation about it.

Lights at school will be switched off during lunch time because it’s Earth Day, the boys announced. They found it funny. Why only at lunch time? Why only on Earth Day and why would we make such a big deal out of something we should do without any prompting anyway? Since we trot on the planet daily, switching lights on and leaving footprints bigger than life, it would make sense to have an Earth Day daily celebration policy.

At least people are reminded of it, you could argue. At least one day. It counts. Better than nothing.

But is one day enough? Is the green message of today strong enough to last for an entire year and are we earthlings determined enough to help the planet from today onward breathing in the oomph of a glorious Earth Day?

I have my doubts. Being the Earth Day Grinch is not about being negative, far from it. It is, as always, about scratching the surface to see is if there’s continuity in Earth-saving beliefs and practices once April 22nd comes to an end.

The way I see it, unless we follow up with lifestyle changes and see climate changes addressed, celebrating Earth Day with much fanfare seems a bit hypocritical.

GreenSharing beautiful photos and shedding emerald-green tears on April 22 of every year is sweet, but not even remotely enough to change things.

If it’s Earth Day, let’s make it so. No ‘freebies with your purchase,’ no ‘5 dollars off Earth Day coupon’ or ‘enter Earth Day promotional code at checkout.’

It is important (vital?) to stall the big machinery that produces consumer goods at a rate that would overwhelm not just one planet – it does! – but several, should we have the luxury of planet backup to begin with (we don’t.)

Last year, the Conference Board of Canada released a report that revealed the amount of garbage generated by each citizen: a shift-in-your-seat 777 kg/person. What’s worse, the garbage mountains have been growing steadily since 1990.

Sure we know why. Manufacturing goes through the roof, marketing is a beast made even harder to resist with our rushed lifestyle, and …well, the cradle-to-grave concept makes no sense when every year new models slightly different than last year’s roll in with that addition that somehow we never wanted but now we crave…

But this is not sustainable. What then?

Have the echoes of all the well-intended Earth Day celebrations eluded us?

What are we doing wrong, other than refusing to accept a truth that shows itself in many shapes and repeatedly so, in a zig-zag of weather and climate torment that we will never be ready for no matter how many emergency kits we stack near the entrance.

SomberThe planet has been increasingly more affected by global warming since that first Earth Day in 1970 and, according to Time magazine, many more of us have joined the ranks of climate change skeptics. In other words, it ain’t happening because we find it hard to believe it’s really happening.

Reminders to celebrate Earth Day are sure helpful, but what about tomorrow? Or two weeks from now? Three months down the road?

Sticking to one day a year will not do anymore. Nor will sticking to planting a tree or turning the tap off while brushing teeth. Curbing the non-renewable resource dependency needs to happen and fast. We need to act all grown-up and implement bigger changes if we are to celebrate Earth Day in earnestness.

Once...The question is: will there be enough time to make up our minds by the time Earth Day celebrations roll in next April 22? And next?

From a human point of view we will have enough time to plan fun games, swap spectacular photos and say wow, and organize community events that will remind us all of how lucky we are to have such a beautiful place to live. Because we are.

Problem is, we are not the ones to have the last word. Our planet will. In face of climate change and imminent global warming, we need to have the humbleness to recognize that and act accordingly…

As I finish writing this rain pounds over the garden and the new crop peeks from muck, soon to grow into lush green rows. We’re still safe for now. Seasons follow each other the way they always have, but fear is there too.

Can that be the wind in our wings? Let’s hope so…  Make it a happy Earth Day! Today, tomorrow and every day after that. Make it last.

 

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