Today marks the 52nd annual Earth Day, a day often spent, in some way, showing our gratitude for her endless gifts that make living on this planet possible – the air we breathe, the water we drink, and all of the sources of food living here with us. All of these are a result of a harmoniously living interconnected ecosystem that surrounds us all. The multitude of different species and the landscapes they inhabit are in constant conversation with one another, operating on a level where give and take happens in equality. Much can be learned from the living earth around us, teaching us of balance, reciprocity, and respect.
Each of us have our own way of existing in the world, with gifts all of our own. These gifts can be paid forward, just as the sun gives her light for all those to rise up to it – and the earth needs each and every one of them. Overcoming what harm has been done may seem like a huge feat to overcome and a problem much larger than one person can handle. However, there are so many ways we can make a positive difference, and everything we do has an impact – so why not make it a good one?
If we look at our lives, it’s the smaller decisions that continue to shape our world. Not the grand gestures (though these count too!), but more so, the everyday choices we have and continue to make. These choices, however small, have farther reaching impacts than the eye can see, affecting not only ourselves but the world around us and ultimately, this place we all call home.
So my wish for you this Earth Day, is to become aware of your decisions, acknowledging the difference they each can make for the sake of our lifetime and the many generations to come. As Robin Wall Kimmerer once said, “We are not passive recipients of her gifts, but active participants in her well-being”.
Here are a few ways you can continue to embrace this idea into your days to follow.
Eat more mindfully.
These days, our food supply chain stretches across the globe, resulting in grocery stores that offer the same food year-round. This concept separates us from the ways of season-led eating, and increases the demand for commercialized agriculture and industrialized farming – never mind the gas emissions! So whenever possible, I encourage you to eat closer to home, or even grow your own if you can! Lucky for us living in the Grey Bruce, we have Eat Local – a year-round food co-op delivering right to your door. Hey, did you know we’re producer members? Meaning you can get some of your favourite goodies year-round!
If this doesn’t seem feasible for you, you can also be mindful about what it is you’re buying at the grocery store. Becoming aware of labels goes a long way, building relationships once again with the food that we eat. Fewer ingredients is often better, and organic if possible, avoiding unnecessary chemicals that already riddle our food cycle!
How often do you walk or bike where you need to go? Are there places you can get to by the means of your own two feet?
The past couple of years have shown us that we don’t need to travel as far, with so many of us working from home these days. Plus, this one’s a win-win! You’re decreasing your carbon footprint, all the while getting some exercise in, and supporting your mental health all at the same time!
Put your money where your mouth is.
Nowadays, it’s trendy to be eco-friendly, but are we actually spending our hard-earned dollars where it matters? Or are we just cruising around looking for the best deals, landing ourselves in large fortune 500 companies that separate us from the makers behind everything stocking their shelves?
Where we spend our money is but another way we have a voice in this world – a pretty loud one at that – and the easiest way to stop the production of products we don’t believe in is by removing the demand for them.
Plastic was invented for a reason, but we’ve well since surpassed using it for the means it was originally created for. Instead, we use and abuse plastic as though it disappears the minute we throw it in the recycling bin… but remember – plastic basically lasts forever, ending up in landfills, riverbanks, and oceans. Ending up everywhere you can imagine and also, everywhere you don’t want it to be!
So being mindful of the longevity of plastics, see if you can reframe the way you use them. Thankfully, there’s alternatives for everything these days – from water bottles, to saran wrap.
Hey, remember our “BYOC” (bring your own cup) program? We’re bringing it back this year! Need a tumbler? We’ve got some sweet ones here.
This is a great way to pay it forward, as you’re returning your food scraps back to the food cycle they came from, and avoiding having them end up in landfills or any other unwanted places. It’s a great time to see if your township has a program, or if you can, start composting right in your backyard. Fun tip: you can bury your compost directly, to avoid piles or the need for a bin, which in turn helps it decompose more quickly!
We’re excited to share with you that we’re composting all of our food scraps this year! Stay tuned to hear more about this program and many of our other sustainable initiatives.
Support your local green organizations and initiatives.
If you’re living in our neck of the woods, there are a handful of organizations you can support that will help increase your ripple of change. Eat Local Grey Bruce (did you know we’re a producer member on here too?), Grey Sauble Conservation Authority, and Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association, just to name a few.
Supporting your local businesses and farmers are other great ways too! Plus, this is a great way to build community, bringing everyone closer together for the sake of something good.
I like to think that the more we spend time in nature, the more we can begin to appreciate all of its beauty. It’s hard not to fall in love at the sight of a sunset on the beach, the blooming wildflowers in a field or a meadow, or by the aliveness of a forest – awake with sounds of life in all of its forms. So go out and experience the living world around you – a daily dose of Vitamin N (nature, I like to say), goes a long way!
So with that, I encourage you to celebrate Earth Day in the smallest of ways, every day.
Have some fun Earth Day ideas? Drop them in the comments below!