Leery or Weary of Earth Day?

5 reasons to celebrate, and 5 ways to do it

EARTH DAY

By BOBBI BUCHANAN

Maybe you’re a global warming skeptic. Or you don’t like the face of the environmental movement. Not an Al Gore fan? Had your fill of Michael Pollan? That’s okay. You don’t have to be a liberal or buy expensive organic food to take part. The movement could use some independent thinkers, and it’s cheaper and better to grow your own food anyway.

Now more than ever, the earth needs you. And you need the earth. Here’s why:

  1. Air: You like to breathe, right? The earth’s blanket of air includes oxygen, which is essential to human life. Most of that oxygen, by the way, is provided by green plants.
  2. Water: It’s another basic need. Water covers 70 percent of the earth’s surface, and, interestingly enough, about the same percentage of water makes up the human body. Our survival, and the survival of other life forms, depends on access to clean, fresh drinking water.
  3. Food: With an industrialized food system, we sometimes forget that plants make up much of what we eat. If we’re not purists, we’re getting chemical additives and whatnot, but mainly food comes from the land. Even the animals we eat are raised on plants grown in the earth.
  4. Simple Pleasures: Remember fishing with your grandpa, or that canoe trip you took in high school? If you’ve ever been to the beach, hiked a mountain trail or thrilled at the sight of a bald eagle or a white tail deer, then you’ve enjoyed the simple pleasures the earth provides.
  5. Giving Back: We want to feel useful, and taking part in something meaningful is a great way to do that. Faith guides some of us. For others, it’s karma. Or maybe we decide to celebrate Earth Day simply because it makes us feel good about ourselves.

earthday-montageNo matter your motivation, following are five no-cost or low-cost ways to honor the 40th Earth Day celebration:

  1. Take a walk. Get the kids involved. Give everyone bags. Collect litter in your neighborhood. Award a golden dollar coin to the one who bags the most trash.
  2. Start a garden. Make it small if this is your first. Green beans, radishes and squash are relatively easy for the beginner. Building good soil is the key to growing healthy vegetables. The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible is a widely recommended book to help you get started.
  3. Plant a tree. Windbreaks, shade, beauty, preventing soil erosion—there are a million reasons to plant a tree. Try this one: trees absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen.
  4. Buy nothing. That’s right. Simply refraining from consumption is a way of honoring the earth. Don’t purchase needless things that will end up going into a landfill within six months. Save money. Be happy. For more on this concept, go to www.newdream.org.
  5. Line dry your laundry. Seen the newfangled “solar-powered” clothes dryer? It’s a laundry line with clothespins. It’s green, and it’s frugal.

Celebrate Earth Day, April 22.


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3 comments

  1. I appreciate Ms. Buchanan’s simple approach to protecting and sustaining the earth. I was raised in Eastern Kentucky where my family farmed extensive gardens and used the land, gently, for its betterment. Environmentalism need not be either gobbly-gook or difficult. It is simply sensible use linked to a deep appreciation of the earth. The rest will take care of itself–And for my part, I think the whole global warming thing is nuts! The Earth has warmed and cooled many times in its existence without human assistance, and I doubt our meager influence has caused our latest warm spell. The sun may be pumping out more energy; the earth may have changed its orbit a bit; or whatever. We should spend less time wringing our hands about our “guilt” and more time trying to understand what is happening to us and why without the blinders of ethnocentric prejudice. We might find that we would all be better off for it. fdd

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