April 22 marks Earth Day. In my dictionary, I define Earth Day as that one day we all reluctantly bypass all our daily activities that contribute to green house gas emissions.
It could be as simple as leaving your car parked for the day or foregoing the frozen dinner and opting for a Farm-to-Table meal. On the other end of the spectrum, it could be as bold as joining a movement to stop the ice caps from melting.
None of which I’ve ever done because, let’s be honest, as socially responsible as it is to participate in Earth Day, on April 23 we’re all back to honking our horns during the evening traffic jam.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to ‘hate’ or ‘troll’ Earth Day. I love the Earth! I also believe that Earth Day is a significant way to spread awareness that we can all be a little kinder and more sympathetic on how we treat the natural space we all call home.
But even I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve never shut off all the lights in my house for an hour, at least for the sake of Earth Day.
Hold the stones. I’m just being honest.
It’s not like I’m trying to purposely avoid Earth Day, and neither am I consciously being anti-Earth Day. If it wasn’t for the fact that I worked in the media, I don’t think I’d even know the day existed, kind of like St. George’s Day.
This might be in large part due to the fact that my family tries our best to celebrate Earth Day, everyday.
Let me count the ways: we switched vehicles from a V8 to a four cylinder; we only use cold water when washing our clothes (with the exception of our six-month-old’s diapers); we cloth diaper our son; we started our own vegetable garden; nothing goes in the garbage that can be recycled (even the grocery list); our compost bucket is the most utilized object on our kitchen counter (next to the cutting board); our weekend adventures consist of hiking through the regional parks in West Kelowna; my husband, a hobbyist woodworker, repurposes beetle kill pine for projects; every single piece of furniture in our place was either handmade by my husband or thrifted from garage sales; and we try at best to reduce, reuse and recycle our clothes.
So, while I won’t apologize for not celebrating Earth Day on April 22, we do do our part. Or at least I’d like to think so. Since becoming a parent, I feel it’s even more important to put a lifestyle that promotes eco-friendly practices into action.
This past weekend we took a hike through Last Mountain, a web of walking trails in West Kelowna’s Glenrosa area. We came across a group of kids, aged 5 to 7, chaperoned by an adult. They were all hanging out in a cool, man-made fort; listening to the radio and eating fruits and Cheetos. I thought to myself, ‘Wow, what a great way to experience the outdoors with friends; and kudos to the dad, or uncle or brother who brought them here.’ In my little, made-up world, I imagined the adult teaching the littles how to be stewards of the Earth.
On our way back the group had left and my husband went to take pictures of the fort, for memory sake. What was saddening, is that the fort was littered with an empty strawberry container, a Coke bottle, a soda can and left over chip crumbs.
We can do better than this.
Anyone can celebrate the Earth by going without electricity for an hour one day of the year (minus power outages), but unless we really commit to these things, they end up on the wayside—kind of like New Year’s resolutions.
So, this Earth Day, don’t just adjust your lifestyle for one day. Instead, pick one thing you can do differently and work towards it every day for the rest of the year until it becomes habit. It really does count. Out of the three billion people in this world, the efforts of one truly make a difference.
Tell me what Earth Day habit you’d like to make part of your everyday in the comments below!