29 Apr It’s about sustainability: Every day is Earth Day
Ok. It’s been a week now since Earth Day. Are there any sustained changes in your lifestyle? I did find out that Earth Day started 38 years ago. Before Earth Day, I can remember the “Don’t be a Litterbug” Campaign in the 1960’s. Before that effective national campaign, we would (without guilt) just roll down the window in the moving automobile and throw out our Kleenex tissue, soda bottle, chewing gum wrappers, whatever. Hard to believe, isn’t it? When I was in Africa in 2000, I was shocked to see everyone throwing litter on the ground. Granted, they had far less “disposables” per person but there were so many people without environmental consciousness that the litter was noticeable – especially to me. I organized a 2 clean-up campaigns for the children in my community that year to teach environmental respect and principles of sanitation. It was “a big hit”. We spent a designated Saturday collecting paper and other trash in wheelbarrows. The waste management method was either open burning or digging big holes and burying items. There were consequences to both but they were better than littering and negligence. These clean-up days ended with mass handwashing with powdered laundry soap and a tub of “clean” water from the well. Then it was time for popcorn and Kool Aid – the favorite snack of children and adults.
Well, we’ve come a long way – not many “litterbugs” around any more and now there are families, groups and organizations which “adopt” highways and clean up after the disrespectful minority. Still we have a long way to go and we need more than one day in April each year to fulfill our responsibility to the Earth and our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. The changes needed are pretty simple but everyone must join in with sustained engagement. You can’t do it all but pick something(s) and get going and keep it going: walk or ride a bicycle instead of driving short distances; when a light bulb burns out, replace it with one of those “kinky” low-energy bulbs; wash your dishes by hand one day a week and recycle your paper, plastic, cans and bottles. And please don’t whine and complain about these contributions. If we don’t take care of this Earth – where are we gonna live?