Tomorrow, April 22, 2017, we honour the Earth that’s sustained us for generations upon generations and continues to nurture life and inspire awe and wonder. With our attention and action we can help the Earth to heal and continue to provide future generations with the life and wonder that it generates. We have taken it for granted for too long as an infinite and never-ending resource, and now it needs our nurturing and attention. Even the smallest actions, when done in collaboration with many others, can make a big impact. If we all come together and acknowledge each of our important roles, we can create change! Here are ten suggestions on how you can help:
- Plant a tree. If you’re in Victoria, BC on April 22, pop by Sitka at 1219 Government Street. Bartlett Tree Experts Victoria will be giving away free Japanese Maple Trees! Planting a tree is also a cool way to commemorate an important event like: the birth of a baby, an anniversary, moving into a new house, even a memorial for a beloved pet. Watching the tree grow is a gentle reminder of passing time and the beauty of nature and its healing abilities.
- Plant a veggie garden or a flower garden. Being in nature is scientifically proven to be calming and good for your health. If you have allergies – not to worry! I have wicked allergies that have kept me out of the garden for weeks at a time, but I discovered doctor’s/worker’s masks and wear them when the flowers and pollen are abundant. I may look a little silly but it works. Also vegetable and flower gardens attract bees, which is a really good thing. If you haven’t heard, bees’ entire existence is threatened due to insecticides and pesticides and other harmful chemicals that are readily used on food crops to improve yield.
- Don’t buy anything. I know it’s hard. I am a confessed shopaholic and addicted to buying things, even if it’s just some cotton pads from the drugstore or some other silly “necessities” (that is another blog post for another time). But it’s just for one day – you can do it! Being conscious of your purchasing behaviour helps empower you to be more mindful of how and what you buy and understand your affect on the industries that produce and make the products we buy. Could you imagine the impact if everyone in the entire world didn’t purchase anything for one day? Manufacturers and retailers would take notice.
- But if you must buy something, please buy locally grown or produced or something that is used. If you must buy something new that you can’t find locally produced, make sure you’re getting a quality product that will LAST. For example, the following:
“Canadian municipalities are dealing with a waste management crisis and our landfills cannot support the amount of garbage generated by the bottled water industry. According to a recent Toronto Sun article, “as few as 50 per cent of the water bottles Torontonians consume everyday are actually being recycled. That means as many as 65 million empty plastic water bottles per year end up as garbage in a landfill waste site.” In some communities the percentage of water bottles that end up in landfills can be as high as 80 per cent.”
- Invest in a good water bottle. Disposable plastic water bottles produce a lot of waste and even if recycled, require a lot of energy for that process. Also, plastic never goes away. Once created, it will always exist, even if recycled. We do not need to create more plastic. By investing in a reusable water bottle, you can help reduce Canadians’ annual plastic water bottle waste of approximately 65 million empty plastic water bottles per year.
- Invest in a travel mug for your coffee or tea. Along the same lines as water bottles, but in a category all their own. Disposable coffee cups, lids and all of the coffee stirring accessories are rarely recycled. We are a disposable culture and have become okay with throwing away everything we no longer use or need, with little consideration for where it goes or what happens to it. Throwing it away does not mean that is goes away – it must go somewhere, and that is usually your local landfill, where it sits and sits, not decomposing, for hundreds of years. If you drink 2 cups of coffee or tea a day, you can personally reduce your coffee cup waste by 730 cups a year. Just YOU alone. All you have to do is throw your travel mug in your bag every day and wash it at the end of the day. Simple isn’t it?
- Invest in glass containers with lids – pack your lunch! Eat left-overs and reduce food waste at the same time! No more take out in non-recyclable Styrofoam or other plastic containers and utensils that are difficult to recycle and often just end up in the garbage.
- Host a clothing swap. Clothing swaps are a great way to acquire clothing that is new (to you!) in trade for clothing that you no longer wear or want. Plus you get to see friends or meet new people in the process. Win win, right?! If you’re not up for hosting one, Fashion Revolution Canada and the Makehouse are hosting a ticketed clothing swap Victoria, BC next Thursday April 27th: https://www.facebook.com/events/158568334630680/
- Get outside in nature. There is nothing more restorative for your mind, body and soul than spending time in nature. Connecting to our roots, appreciating the tranquility and beauty of nature, experiencing gratitude for its magnificence, and decompressing and de-stressing are all benefits of spending time outside in nature.
- Attend an Earth Day event in your town or city. If you’re in Victoria there is a free event downtown at the BC Museum http://creativelyunited.org/. If you’re in Vancouver there are multiple events depending on your location; a couple of examples are Vancouver’s Earth Day Parade, Surrey’s Party for the Planet, and North Vancouver’s Earth Day event (http://www.cnv.org/parks-recreation-and-culture/signature-events/earth-day)
How are you planning to celebrate Earth Day? image source: http://metro.co.uk/2017/04/20/when-is-earth-day-what-is-it-and-how-can-you-celebrate-it-at-home-6583492/