On this, the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, consider this…
Most of us are taught when we are young:
- It is better to give than to receive
- Don’t be greedy – leave some for others
- Be a good neighbor
These principles seem to apply except when it comes to the earth we live on. Our culture looks to nature as something to devour rather than something to honor and celebrate. Consider the term “natural resources” rather than “natural gifts.” As our society has lost its connection to the land, the messages we are given now are:
- Profit trumps sustainability and the well being of our fellow species
- Increasing consumption not thinking about environmental consequences
- Gross national product vs gross national happiness & health
We shrug our shoulders about Climate Change, the great garbage patches in the ocean, microplastics in the water supply, mass extinctions of species, loss of our forests, clean air, and clean water. It’s uncomfortable to think about. It’s too big. Someone else will take care of it. Actually no and for certain, apathy will not.
Covid 19 is awful but this unfolding climate disaster will be worse. It’s just coming more slowly. The government won’t save us nor will science. The only things that will save us are our individual actions and a new collective attitude of reciprocity Reciprocity means giving back in return. Indigenous people had mastered the art of reciprocity. Take only what you need that nature gives. Give back in your reverence, give thanks in gratitude, in your time, and other resources you posess in return. We don’t have that concept in our capitalistic system. We don’t realize that our purchases from store shelves, neatly packaged in plastic, in bags made of plastic and paper, all come from the earth’s gifts. But nature’s shelves are getting empty.
This Earth Day start adopting an attitude of reciprocity. here are some ideas :
- Educate yourself and your family by watching documentaries and reading content about nature and environmental issues
- Volunteer your time to a local cause for nature
- Think about what you purchase and if you really need it. Think about your disposable items and if you can find alternatives. Disposable means wasted.
- Contribute money (if you can these days) to local and or national environmental organizations. People willingly give to political campaigns but for some reason don’t see a healthy environment as a priority. My favorite organization is the National Resources Defense Council. They are a powerhouse environmental lobby that has defeated the majority of destructive environmental legislation from the Trump Administration
- Plant a seed, plant a tree or plant a garden.
- Get out into nature in your own neighborhood. Learn the plants and animals. Turn over rocks and see what lives there. Give your children binoculars and magnifying glasses instead of electronics. It’s hard to learn to care for something if you don’t learn to love it!
My new blog, One Sweet Earth addresses will be addressing all these topics. Stop by or subscribe for tips twice a week.
In the meantime, have a Happy Earth Day hopefully out in nature. There are lots of activities for the entire family listed here.