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Celebrating Earth Day

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Earth Day is a day to stop talking or thinking about doing something good for the planet and actually get out and do it.

When one stops to think about it for a minute, it seems unjust that Earth Day is celebrated only one day a year. After all, what part of our existence is not supported in one way or another by this amazing planet? The least we can do is recognize the day in some way. Earth Day is April 22nd and usually celebrated on the closest weekend to that date.

The first Earth Day was in 1970 and was the brainchild of Senator Gaylord Nelson, a democratic senator from Wisconsin. He proposed his idea at a conference in Seattle in September of 1969 by suggesting that during the spring of 1970 there would be a coast-to-coast grassroots demonstration on behalf of environmental concerns. According to Nelson, “The response was electric. It took off like gangbusters.” And he was right. Forty-three years later we are still celebrating Earth Day.

There are many ways to celebrate or be a part of Earth Day. Here are a few ideas, but let your creativity be your guide:
  • Head out to your local community’s public Earth Day event. Many communities have them. There are usually fun, educational activities for the whole family.
  • Not feeling like dealing with a crowd? Head out for a Family Day in the great outdoors. Pack a picnic or take the family on a kid-friendly hike and take a moment to appreciate Earth’s offerings.
  • As a family, talk about the importance of Earth’s stewardship and commit to one thing your family could do better to steward the Earth: Maybe it is packing zero waste lunches for school, maybe it is recycling better. Maybe it is consciously cutting back on Earth’s resources—like water—with shorter showers or not throwing clothes that are still clean in the dirty clothes hamper.
  • Last but certainly not least, DO something to take care of the Earth and your own community. Join a graffiti clean-up sweep in your neighborhood, plant a tree or a vegetable garden, re-align those sprinklers that are watering the sidewalk. Turn the lights off when you leave a room at night.

You will be surprised at how good doing these things can feel. I frequently hike up a steep road in my neighborhood for exercise. Several weeks ago I was horrified to discover that someone had illegally dumped computer equipment, an old television and a printer off the side of the road above a creek. I immediately wanted to pick up the electronics and dispose of them properly. The problem is that the items were dumped in a thicket of Poison Oak—something I get by even looking at it. Every time I walk by those illegally dumped items, my blood begins to boil.

On Earth Day, instead of continuing to get mad about it, I am going to cover myself head to foot and brave the Poison Oak to retrieve the illegally dumped electronics and dispose of them properly. Yes… I will stop complaining and talking and get up and do something…

I feel better just thinking about it.

[AUTHOR: Hilary Doubleday]

April 14, 2015

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