Earth Day…A Guest Post by Kim Urig
I spend a great deal of my writing time addressing environmental and healthy living issues. My work has been published in several venues over the years and I’ve adopted the name FreshGreenKim as my Twitter handle. In other words (albeit grammatically incorrect), Green and Me go hand in hand. It is my area of expertise and passion. So when my colleague asked me to contribute a guest column for Earth Day, I warned her that my words may not be exactly what she expected, as I find Earth Day a pretentious and arbitrary way to show that we care about our planet.
I have a very hard time conjuring something interesting to say about how Earth Day has evolved since the first Earth Day in 1970 which included a day’s adjournment of both the House and Senate in Washington DC so our political leaders could make speeches about what was considered the most popular and least risky issue in an election year: The Environment. Hard to believe, isn’t it?
Watch this short news clip and see for yourselves:
What was considered common sense 42 years ago is now a marketing gimmick and point of contention. We debate climate change and tout studies to shirk any responsibility for conservation, justifying waste and irresponsible consumption of resources “since climate change is a lie anyway”.
We are a nation that generates trash at an embarrassing rate. Corporations create new ways to market disposable trash that now is called “ecofriendly”… a disposable single serve bottle of water, a biodegradable dryer sheet that is scented with petroleum-based fragrances, or my personal favorite, paper plates as an environmentally responsible choice. Huh?
On April 22nd , we will don green clothing with clever sayings and symbols to show our neighbor how committed to the environment we are while we shop for green merchandise in a reusable bag that was manufactured overseas, from polypropylene, that can take up to 28 times as much energy to produce as a single plastic bag. It’s unlikely that we actually will reuse the bag, but rather adds it to a collection of “reusable bags” that defy their moniker. Much the way we don stars and stripes and send colorful and sparkling explosives into the air to commemorate our forefathers’ bloodshed on July 4th or decorate our lawns with inflatable Santas or Easter Bunnies on religious holidays; we celebrate in visible, yet ultimately, ineffective and meaningless ways. We forget what the days truly commemorate.
Earth Day is not about 24 hours, but rather a life choice. We need not wrap ourselves in green-dyed clothing, generating waste, but instead, truly consider changes that will respect our planet and its future residents. I would rather on Earth Day the folks who truly care about our planet would just make ONE change (or more, but I won’t get greedy!). If you care about the environment, you already know where you’ve taken the lazy path. You know the things you’re doing that aren’t really in synch with loving our earth. I challenge you not to take a day, but rather to make a permanent lifestyle change. Do something differently. Refill a water bottle. Skip eating meat. Don’t buy things you don’t need, and reuse more of what already exists. Walk when you can instead of drive. Buy a basket for your bike and use that for local errands. Stop making excuses and start caring. Pick one action and stick to it. Then once that’s a habit, pick another action.
Life here is all we know, this planet is the only home we have. We need to respect it and preserve its resources.
Kim can be found on Twitter at @FreshGreenKim and online at http://www.ourdailygreenlife.blogspot.com/ or http://www.examiner.com/green-parenting-in-cleveland/kimberly-urig