All-Over-The-Earth Day

Worth reprinting each year!

I remember the first Earth Day.

For me, beginning to think about our planet as a personal responsibility grew from my observance of that day. It has been a slow awakening.

Through the years I learned more. And when we know better, we do better. Yet, I know that I can do more.

I reduce, but am still prone to want what I want when I want it.
I certainly re-use; from plastic Zip-Loc (no BPA) bags to cloth produce and grocery bags to clothing and furniture from Goodwill. But I rarely remember to take my Pyrex containers when I am buying from the deli or take-out from our favorite Chinese restaurant.

I almost always recycle. I have been known to bring paper and plastic bottles home in my suitcase when I can’t find recycling when I travel. But still I can’t seem to evangelize some friends and family to the Gospel of Free Recycling!

I need to do more. Earth Day must be every day if we are to save life as we know it for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

It’s a consumer issue. It’s a moral issue.

I argue heatedly that logging, fracking, and fossil fuel investments are controlled by our pocketbooks; not by donation but by our spending habits. And, after taking so many courses on morality from Coursera, I find myself in a quandary much of the time.

On one hand I restrict my stockbroker on what he puts in my portfolio. On the other I am sitting in front of my gas fireplace in my gas heated home and understand that this luxury must come from somewhere. I don’t invest in fossil fuel companies but I fly to see my family, to experience other cultures, and to just rest and relax without many qualms.

I recognize that there is no long-term profit for the globe in sending money to Peru for watershed issues or the Redwoods to retain old-growth* if I continue to fly around that same globe. It is a start and not a solution. I drive a Prius and try to consolidate errands but still drive many miles alone without looking for ride-shares.

I don’t know the answers but I know that we are all trying to  do our best for everyone involved. It is a huge responsibility that we must all shoulder together.  Here are a few ideas.

1. Get serious about the slogan in every aspect of our lives: Reduce, re-use, recycle.
Make the effort to recycle every day and use the “Plastic Round-up” in your area for the things that will not commingle. Recycle every scrap of paper.

If your area doesn’t place recycling bins in high-use areas…be instrumental in change. Several years ago I was told that recycling bins were not possible in our local U.S. Post Office. Now we have two locked bins. Each time I go there I remind people too recycle their mail as they are opening it. My husband and I even dig through the waste bin and recycle the castaways.

2. Use less fossil fuels. Take the bus. Take a friend.

Turn the thermostat down for heat and up for cooling if you are so privileged as to have this ability.

Shun plastic (which is ubiquitous in packaging) when you can and recycle when you can’t. Take back the tap, buy a filter for your kitchen sink if necessary, and re-fill your washable water bottles. Keep a re-usable coffee cup in your car. The coffee shop will rinse it out. (Those paper coffee cups are not recyclable because they are plastic lined.)

3. Buy local. This is not always possible, but make a rule for yourself that you can follow. Buy only from neighboring states except for VERY special occasions. Go to your local farmer’s markets with your own bags.

4. Use earth friendly products. There are many places on line to get ratings on eco-friendly products. Try some. If you can’t find a dishwasher soap that pleases you, mix it with a conventional one and lessen the impact. If you can’t resist bleaching, do it only once every fourth washing, or fifth. Keep trying. It’s worth it for the planet and for your own health. (You wouldn’t like to know what you are eating, breathing and soaking in with conventional products.)

Most importantly. Keep the planet in mind. Shift your thinking. Do your best. Every little bit helps.

*Which I did to offset my carbon footprint when I booked a flight on United.


April 21 2014


  1. In India, we are still rather primitive and much of the problems faced by the West have not yet assumed serious proportions though they are on the way. So, many things that you suggest are already practiced by a great number of us because luckily technology has not yet reached the stage that the West has reached. For instance, I still use freshly bought vegetables grown in and around the city where I live, I can still buy whole wheat and get it ground into flour, travel by train, bus or autorickshaw and so on.

    “Myth: we have to save the earth. Frankly, the earth doesn’t need to be saved. Nature doesn’t give a hoot if human beings are here or not. The planet has survived cataclysmic and catastrophic changes for millions upon millions of years. Over that time, it is widely believed, 99 percent of all species have come and gone while the planet has remained. Saving the environment is really about saving our environment — making it safe for ourselves, our children, and the world as we know it. If more people saw the issue as one of saving themselves, we would probably see increased motivation and commitment to actually do so.” -Robert M. Lilienfeld, and William L. Rathje,


    • Interesting take. And, yes, many of these issues are singular to the U.S. I do believe that in trying to conserve and preserve we are helping the environment in order to save ourselves. Well, not me; for my grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I would like to see the species prevail for their sakes, knowing full well that life and resources will continue to change as it has in the past.


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