Take Action For Earth Day At The Bottom Of This Article
CS Sherin, April 22, 2019
Earth Day is today, yet Earth Day needs to be every day. Not one day can be found where we don’t need the Earth. There isn’t a day that we don’t need clean, safe, accessible air, water, and food. Even so, because of the disastrous effects that consumerism, waste, fossil fuels, corporate agriculture, exploitation, and materialistic financial wealth have upon the environment — we set this special kind of day aside — in order to raise awareness and take action.
At its best, Earth Day actions include: taking political action via calling and petitioning our representatives and hopeful representatives, and advocating for the varying urgent needs related to environmental health, sustainability, and climate change. Earth Day is also an opportunity to plan for or begin to plant native trees, plants, and an organic garden for self and/or others, to re-commit to the actions required in our personal lives for sustainability, and invite others to join in. It can be an opportunity to celebrate with meaningful actions and networking that stimulate new inspiration and energy to act.
Yet, too often, this day becomes a superficial tool for commercial interests, both large and small, that greenwash the day for personal gain. Earth Day events too often include: unsustainable waste, single-use plastics, and commercial gimmicks, rather than sincere investment in and commitment to a sustainable, environmental business model, policies, and ongoing actions. Some Earth Day events may contribute to pollution and waste more than they build on sustainable actions, like networking, outreach, activism, and education.
It could be more productive to organize and participate in protests and demonstrations for Earth Day, instead of making it a carnival-like event for profit and advertising.
It can be a day to push for bigger actions and ongoing commitment from big players. Earth Day can be a day for divestment movements, and for asking local venues to stop with the chemicals on the grass and single-use plastics — and to begin (and continue) addressing crucial local issues related to water, air, food, habitats, and climate action.
As climate change is already happening, there are many populations in the US and around the world in emergency situations, who are suffering and displaced because of it.
We need to have started on the radical system change required to mitigate this disaster 10 years ago. We are behind. In addition, the current Republican administration is undermining everything we need to change, in unimaginable corrupt and truly damaging ways.
Dealing with these kinds of harrowing dynamics, and the need for long-term resistance, can lead to emotional and mental exhaustion. It also can lead to anger at celebratory days, like Earth Day, that too often fail to live up to what they are intended to be.
At the same time, it is important to celebrate and appreciate what is good, and what we have left, to protect and restore.
If someone we love is seriously ill, and it is also that loved one’s birthday, it is still a day to celebrate. But, we don’t celebrate by engaging in activities that could get the loved one more sick. We certainly don’t try to profit from their situation and needs. The celebration needs to include plans that care for that loved one’s health for that day, and with their long-term needs in mind as well. Caring for our Earth is no different.
And, just like long-term caregivers, it is important that we take down-time, in order to recharge ourselves, so that we can productively face all of the day-to-day challenges. In states of emergency, there is not this luxury, but in the scope of worldwide populations, those who can, must stop and recharge in order to be more effective for the long haul.
Yes, it is important that we make time to spend time in nature, in order to appreciate and connect with what we are standing up for. Yet, we need to, at least, spend time in nature in a way that causes no harm. And hopefully, we spend time in nature in a way that can contribute to educating, helping, restoring, and preserving health and balance in nature and the ecosystems around us.
The ordinary natural world is miraculous, wondrous, and beautiful. We owe our daily lives to the goodness of this planet. This is what sacred means…it is a valuing and awareness of goodness. Currently, we face a crisis in which too many leaders have forsaken the sacredness of life for profit, power, and greed. If we are going to celebrate and promote Earth day, may it be for Earth day every day, and for preserving the innate sacredness of life over all else in a way that is inclusive, honest, and kind.
If you would like to take a special action to celebrate Earth Day this year, I recommend joining me in signing the petition to the current administration for the Native Americans at Pine Ridge Reservation who are in a state of emergency and displaced by massive flooding. Follow this link to act now.