Happy Earth Day!
I have to be honest, I’m not a particularly festive person. Most holidays I’m doing the bare minimum to celebrate. Earth Day is no exception.
I’m not planting a tree. I’m not going to be basking in the sunshine. My festivity this year is writing this blog post on my patio (and that’s okay).
But I do love the Earth. In fact, I don’t know if I’ve ever not loved this planet. And I care about it, too! Today I want to take inventory of where my actions are meeting my affections for our shared home.
How am I doing?
About a year ago I started riding my bike to work. It’s been awesome. Living as a one-car couple has been fun but challenging. Some times I wish I still had a car of my own. But on a day like today it’s really satisfying knowing that I can keep an entire vehicle off the road by choosing a bike instead.
Not everyone can opt for a bike. But what about public transportation? Or car pooling? You might be surprised when you look at your options. I never thought I’d be car-free and biking 5 miles to work, but here I am!
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.
You have to admit the branding is phenomenal. The three-word saying is, too. My only critique (and I can’t take credit for this) is that we’ve taken a backwards approach to how we embrace it. We often think of recycling as the end-all, be-all. But I realize now that there’s something even better than recycling: reusing. And even better yet: reducing.
What’s better, recycling your waste, or reducing your waste to begin with? Or what if instead of recycling an old plastic container you can reuse it a few more times first? We could even reintroduce a fourth word, re-purpose. We’ve re-purposed some unwanted coffee mugs for herb plants in our small garden.
Thinking this way has led to the more practical steps taken in the past year for Kelsee and I. We now try to avoid one-time-use products, especially plastic. We also try to buy things in larger quantities to reduce the amount of packing that is involved. I intentionally started buying the peanut butter that comes in a glass jar because it means every time we finish the peanut butter, we have another storage container!
And yes, we started recycling this year, too.
Taking steps to care for our planet better can take many different forms, but one of the most surprising is by choosing what you put on your plate. Yes, the food that you eat has a price tag and also a price that is paid by Earth. A plant-based diet helps fight climate change and animal foods like beef are damaging the environment.
Eat more plants! We eat a plant-based diet and it’s been wonderful for our bodies and minds. It’s great to know an animal didn’t die to feed me. But knowing it also helps this planet that is our shared home is great, too.
Beyond the kinds of food to eat, we also try to source our food well. We’re buzzing in anticipation for the farmers’ market season to start back up so we can get some local, organically grown food. And as unfun as it is to think about, I’ve also been faced with the facts that flying food from other countries isn’t quite the best thing for the Earth. avocado’s are becoming a bit more of a special occasion for me for this reason.
Yes, bananas and plenty of other foods come from across the nation or across the world, too. So let’s not respond with a, “well then why bother,” attitude and instead take interest in sourcing locally and helping people that are growing the foods in the patches of mother Earth we live in ourselves.
There’s plenty for me to improve on. We recycle a lot of stuff, but I’d really love to have less things to recycle! Less waste altogether. Finding other waste-minded people to share ideas with is a goal of mine. Here’s a start.
Tomorrow is also Earth Day
And so is the day after. It’s easy to lose track of the giant sphere zipping around the sun that we’re all riding through life together. But, until we are colonizing other places in this universe, we live every day on spaceship Earth. So another goal I have is to reflect on the Earth on more days than just the one that has a trending hashtag.
Don’t get me wrong, hashtags are good! This holiday is great for spreading awareness. So let’s be more aware together! But I think there’s a hurdle between awareness and action. It’s called apathy.
I feel like I’m recovering from apathy about a lot of things lately. The importance of my home and habitat is one of them. All these years I could have been doing better. There’s damage that I’ve already done. And thinking about how much there’s left to do to fix it can be daunting. It can seem like it never ends, and that I won’t be able to achieve a “perfect” state of being, so why bother trying?
But when I reflect on living these ideas out, I realize this: There is no perfect, there is only better.
So let’s do better.
From my mind to yours,