Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Making Earth Day Matter...Beyond the Hype


--.Op-Ed--

Earth Day is upon us today and with literally millions of celebrations of all scales happening worldwide, one can certainly find an event to "plug into." But for many, the special day has gone from hope to hype, and in an effort to "keep it real" many opt for simpler means to honor our planet. Less of an occasion for concerts, Earth day is a call for mindfulness and awareness of our relationship to our planet. But beyond a one day remembrance lets have Earth Day serve as a day of resolutions for the year to come - on living more in sync, in honor, and in commitment to our planet. Beyond the hype - let's make a difference ...one small change at a time. Here are a few ideas on how to get started.

1-Look outside your door. Go for a walk. Then do it again, and again, and again.
Take a few minutes today and go for a walk - not to get anywhere in particular, but to enjoy the process of simply being outdoors. Relish the experience and be present to the environment. Observe how much of our natural world is left, wherever it is that you may be. Are you encased by skyscrapers with little patches of green breaking up the concrete, or are you surrounded by the wild ? Truly take in the environment that is yours, become aware of the state of what surrounds you.

2-Look inside your refrigerator. Buy local and organic today. Then do it again, and again, and again.
How much of what you buy actually preserves the planet ? How much is organic and local ? How much of what nourishes you, actually replenishes or starves the planet ? Truly take inventory. That which feeds you must be preserved...what nourishment do you invest in?

3-Look inside your family. Go outside and play. Then do it again, and again, and again...
How much time do you actually spend outdoors appreciating and engaging with the natural environment ? Are you kids nature nourished or nature depleted ? How have you cultivated a love for the natural world in your home? Before we can raise children who will help preserve the future of our planet - they need to have an intuitive relationship to the planet. Get your kids outside today, and let them feel the pleasure of simpler, and yet more abundant, play in the great outdoors.

4-Look inside your wallet. Spend less, use what you have, donate what you don't need. Then do it again, and again, and again.
Consumption might fuel economy but it also fuels a value system that feeds excess and waste. Western culture makes money to spend money, on stuff that most often ends up in land fills as waste. We need to learn to use what we have and demand that products be made better to last longer for our use. Instead of throwing away what you no longer need, donate it. The world has more people in need, then people in want. Keep that in mind, next time you don't want something.

5-Look inside your soul. Find a cause that inspires it while helping the planet, and get behind it with energy and money. Then do it again, and again and again.
There are tens of thousands of organizations working to solve our broken relationship with the natural world, weather through resource conservation, climate research, programs reconnecting kids to nature and literally thousands of others. Find a cause that you believe in - just one, and get behind it. Nothing ignites the spirit like the act of generosity and contribution.

As this day will close for you, what will you take from it ? As this day will close, what will you contribute to it? Make a choice, make a change, then do it again.



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