Gratitude makes the journey better and so does kindness

Tag: Earth Day

On Earth Day And Further

AliveIt is Earth Day today – officially, that is – and that means many things: that many people actively think about their world today, that they may feel inspired to make changes that will help heal it and keep it alive, that even though Volkswagen Canada pushed some car-related trend to top trend on Twitter (yes, they did), #EarthDay occupies the second spot, not because of money-inflated campaigns but because people make it so. That is powerful.

Over the last two months I have been observing the effects that two words have on people. Say climate change and some will jump right in the middle of the conversation, while others shift their gaze and sail out of it as it happens with taboos, because that is what climate change often reminds me of. A couple of states in the US have banned the very words, while here in Canada, the very words are spoken with gusto only by those who have no ties with the fossil fuel industry or the seemingly irreplaceable benefits such resources bring to our everyday life.

Everybody knows that dependency is a dirty word that becomes even dirtier when the environment becomes collateral damage. And it does, whether we admit it or not.

The damage, some would say, is already big enough, is it not, while others still argue that perhaps there is no such thing as human activity-induced climate change and what we see is merely normal phenomena of our world.

I will not dwell on the latter. The fact that March was the hottest on record prevents me from it. As we stand now, and we will, likely, for a few more decades at least, there are no additional options when it comes to living quarters, a reality that cannot be twisted in any way even by the most fervent deniers. This is it, our home. The Earth.

What helps then, putting things in perspective? Here’s what changes mine and keeps me motivated to never give up:

ThemChildren, mine included. They deserve better than a declining world. Their minds are eager to learn and their compassion levels run high. If we teach them early, by example, that wants and needs are as different as night and day, and happiness never comes from opening a package or owning yet one more thing, they’ll go after the real thing: connection. With themselves, with people and with the world.

ThereThat all resources on Earth are finite. Matter – that means liquid, gas, solid – transforms constantly and nothing in our world disappears but becomes something else. We have the power (and technology, for most part) to choose processes and resources that improve our world rather than destroy it. Think fossil fuels and pollution versus renewable, non-polluting energy, think plastic and pollution versus reducing consumerism and garbage. Think health versus… Wait, nothing to set that against. True conversation starters indeed.

strengthThat nature is resilient. Which means that silly kids that we are, we have been abusing it for long enough, yet, should we change our ways, things will get better. Slowly, but they will, and that is reason enough.

ThatThat if the environment suffers, we suffer too. No revolutionary medication and treatments can make up for clean water, air and soil and no amount of money can buy a livable world. Ours was and still is good enough so it makes sense to keep it alive. Everything we create (plastic, pesticides, chemicals used for various purposes) stays with us, whether in the same form or a different one. Every action comes with reaction and if we have once accepted that as truth, why not apply it and make our actions positive ones. It only gets better from there onward if we do.

I am stubborn enough to believe that our survival instinct will prevail. It has to.

WorldsHappy Earth Day!

PS: Happy 364 Earth days more until the next April 22 comes around…It is when it becomes an everyday thing that it matters the most.

The Truth About Earth Day

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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