This weekend, so full of lovely Spring rain to help breath fresh new life into our days, also brought with it the celebration of Earth Day; a day which our kids were very proud to acknowledge and actively participate in. They came home Friday from school eager to share their plans to hit the streets first thing Saturday in order to clean up litter, refuse and those things long forgotten under months of snow and the recent influx of tourist traffic. Come rain, wind, sleet, or snow, they were determined to do their part, knowing that no one else would do it for them; and besides – there’s something beautiful and seemingly poetic about celebrating our planet and all that is has to offer, while walking in the fresh, pouring rain.
Specific daily events aside, many thoughts have been crossing my mind lately, as I’ve observed these wonderful little ladies grow in their pursuit of a healthier planet. Not to say that I don’t pursue or teach these efforts myself, but I have certainly come to appreciate just how much this message of love and care for our environment has seeped into their lives through means outside of our household. I am grateful to their teachers and our education system for shining a light on such topics in ways that weren’t quite so prevalent for me in those early years. I am appreciated of our local culinary community for promoting ‘bring your own dishes’ for take-out dining. I recognize how we have evolved away from the plastic straws, embraced compostable products, and that we don’t see plastic grocery bags anymore. Our Earth is changing and, while we still have many strides to take, there is effort happening, and I realize I can do more to help the cause and our future generations. And so, on this particular Earth Day weekend, here are four simple pledges that I make to my children, my environment and those with whom I share this marvellous place in space.
I will pass along a world with multiple use solutions
A focus on reducing plastic is something I am proud to say that our family already follows and takes into consideration. Long gone are the days of single-use water bottles, straws, forks, knives, bags, and so much more. That said, it’s a sad state we have built for ourselves, where everything from TVs to telephones are designed for obsolescence. I grew up in a household that found pride and joy in repairing and caring for the things we owned; but nowadays we move on to the next, bigger, better, faster, flashier thing even before our current model has stopped working. I can always do more to encourage a further reduction of waste. Things like considering the materials used in our everyday items, like toothbrushes, or take out containers, and taking advantage of the growing programs in our downtown community which focus on refillable services (think laundry, hand and dish soap, etc.). If it’s a single-use item, package, or ‘thing’, then I will challenge myself to seek out alternatives.
I will pass along a world in which I have given more than I have taken
As a human being living in 2023 North America, I am a consumer of resources. I do not live off the grid, and I know that the choices I make have impact on my surroundings. I do my best to minimize consumption, but I would be lying if I said that I would or could give it up altogether. I shop at the grocery store to buy goods, which are delivered in gas-powered vehicles, have likely been processes, sprayed, or mutated in some form or fashion, and I eat out of season (or even out of climate) product year-round. I enjoy these things, yet I know they have an impact. This doesn’t make me a bad person, but it does highlight that, for as much as I consume, I have the ability to give more back to this Earth. Be that planting trees, composting regularly, or caring for the flora and fauna that surround me, I have capacity to give back. And speaking of such things:
I will pass along a world full of compassion
For people, yes, but also for the countless creatures and animals that surround us every day. We take efforts in our home to bring insects and bugs outside instead of simply giving them the ‘bottom of the slipper’ treatment. Rather than curse their early rise, we take in the beauty of the birds in our yard, as well as the trees where they’re performing. I consider myself a kind person and I apply that kindness to all aspects of my life; caring for nature and our environment should be no different than offering a warm and comforting hug to someone who may be experiencing feelings of hurt or trauma in their life.
I will pass along a world of better understanding
So much has changed in the 42-years that I’ve been breathing in this air, just as it had changed in the 42 years before me. It will continue to evolve and reach to places far beyond my current comprehension, and I know that a day not too long from now is going to come when I no longer understand what my kids, the news, or AI bots are talking about. It is on me to do my best, however, to stay as connected and educated as possible, just as much as it is my responsibility to ensure my kids understand how we got to where we are today, and that they have the power to correct our mistakes and run with our successes. I will share my knowledge and accept new information with the flexibility and willingness to change my opinions and perceptions. Just as necessary as it is to keep oneself educated on matters of equality, human rights, and systemic inequities that exist, education around the impacts of our long-lasting actions on our planet are no different.
Four statements, easy to make but a commitment to uphold. I have faith in myself to do it. Perhaps this post comes out a little more opinionated and preachy than I had intended, but these statements are routed in values I hold dear and I consider these to be my own goals. You can, and likely will develop your own in life, which is awesome and I wish you nothing but the best on their successes. So, Happy Earth Day all, and to all a good night!