Don’t Just Set Aside A Day
I remember the first Earth Day. Since that was 48 years ago in 1970, I am once again dating 😉 myself on this Blog. I was still in school, but already a budding activist, active in anti-war, feminist and ecological causes. I have went on through the years to follow many different paths, some of them more fiercely devoted to the preservation of this planet than others, but always Mindful of Her plight and the need for all of us to take action.
Earth Day was the pet project of Senator Gaylord Nelson. Though the tide of public opinion was turning at the time, it was still highly controversial. People just didn’t, or didn’t want to see, the connection between pollution and abuse of the environment, and the health of the population and the planet. (Reminds one of the more current debate and controversy taking place around the subject of Climate change!) That first Earth Day saw 20 million Americans take to the streets to protest the continued rape and ruin of this planet. Even with all this support, staunch opposition continued from right-wing detractors, and the more radical environmental groups who saw it as a case of simply glossing over a much more pressing problem.
However, popular support of Earth Day continued to grow. In 1990, it was expanded to include countries from across the globe. Over 200 million people from 141 nations participated. As the new Millenium arrived, Earth Day, along with the Clean Energy movement, expanded to reach 184 countries through 5000 different environmental organizations. In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly voted to declare April 22nd International Mother Earth Day,though in the United States it is still most commonly referred to as Earth Day. Earth Day Network estimates put participation in Earth Day activities at over a billion people presently, making it the worlds largest secular civic event. We’ve come a long way…
Still Far to Go
But there is still so very far to go. There is a great distance between awareness, and enough positive action to make a significant difference. Each year now, Earth Day is assigned a theme, and this year’s is a doozie— Ending Plastic Pollution. Plastic fills our pantries, closets and garages, it clogs our landfills, pollutes our oceans and waterways, and the use of this pernicious material just keeps increasing. In case you’re wondering, plastic persists in landfills and other places it ends up, for anywhere from 10 years for the omnipresent plastic bag, 450 years for a plastic bottle, and up to a 1000 years for many types of more rigid plastic. This is a problem that will not go away anytime soon, even with the most stringent policing of our use of this material.
For more information about how you can make a difference, on Earth Day, and hopefully every day, visit the Earth Day Network website.
Close to Home and Heart
Each year I go on somewhat of a rant as Earth Day approaches. ( See Observing a Day— Honoring Our Planet and Earth Day #47—Listen to Your Mother ) This is a cause—no, a life choice, dear to my own heart. While I don’t always live up to the standards I wish I did, it is something always in my awareness. We #recycle #reuse and #reduce whenever we can. Gaia and I have been making a concerted effort to slash the amount of single use plastic that is used in our home, and without even thinking much about it, we have made an impact in our daily habits.
It seems to me, however, that until manufacturers and industry change the way they package the merchandise we purchase, a truly significant difference wont be made. If the only choice I have at the supermarket, is salad packed in a plastic bag or container, or at the superstore where so much comes packaged in rigid, nearly impenetrable plastic containers, how can we win? It’s not always plausible to shop the farmer’s market, and bringing your own bags only makes a small impact. The consciousness needs to change at a much higher level.
As an acknowledged thrifter and picker, and a vintage seller ( #savetheworldbuyvintage ), I certainly understand reuse. However, I have not come up with a way to avoid using plastic bubble-wrap when I ship the many fragile items I sell. I do, however, use paper for the bulk of my packaging, and I recycle whenever possible. It saves on plastic waste, extends the usable life of these items and is more economical for me. I know the same is true for many other vintage sellers and hand-made entrepreneurs. Perhaps we are more of a force than we realize.
Now that a belated spring seems to be arriving for everyone, I am sharing some photos of a new favorite spot. Gaia and I recently began taking an outdoor Yoga Class in this local park, and we were blown away by its beauty. This is the sort of place we need to preserve and protect for our children and theirs.
Click on Photo for Slide show!
This is Central Park in Ormond Beach, FL. The park spans 5 or 6 blocks in each direction and was once a waste area left over from dredging for construction and road building. Years ago when it had already become a series of pretty, if a bit wild, ponds, with dirt tracks winding through, we swam and used it for recreation. Apparently, the idea took hold. Now it is a large park full of walking, biking and running paths, playgrounds, picnic areas, boat slips, tennis and basketball courts, and gardens. What a glorious way to reclaim waste land!
Central Park is actually comprised of four park areas and two phases, and covers nearly 149 acres. There is a spot set aside in the park called Harmony Labyrinth—a project organized by two local families and funded by donations from individuals, private businesses, and civic groups. It is serene, hauntingly beautiful and a joy to visit. Gaia and I spent some time, each quietly lost in her own reflections, walking it this past week. We hope to return there often.
There are two Community Gardens in Central Park. The plots in these gorgeous fenced in areas are available by reservation, and currently all occupied. Check out the previous link to learn how to reserve. Gaia and I had fun exploring one of these beautiful spaces filled with tomatoes, squash, greens, flowers for the pollinators and more. There are sheds, large orderly compost bins, and just the best vibes ever. The ladies who were working there that we met were gracious and glad to talk about their passion for gardening.
What a great preamble for Mother Earth Day. Gaia, Kaylah and I will be back at the Labyrinth Saturday for a yoga class.
Till Next Time… Have a Happy and Reflective *Mother* Earth Day!