What Does Earth Day Mean to You?
By Bryan Hayes
Isn’t it amazing just how much we take for granted? Even waking up every day is routine. We are continually breathing without even thinking about it. Walking from here to there, all those steps we take – we are not conscious of our efforts and even less of all the moving parts that enable us to be so mobile.
What we walk on is just as complex. Not to mention all that surrounds us. Whether it is the Earth below us, the sky above us, or the plants and foliage that are before us, the world is made up of so many living organisms.
The Earth itself is a living organism. Just that thought we take for granted, most of the time. It tends to be easy to forget that our planet is living. The grass we can easily see, especially when it is dying, but there is much more to life than what we are able to visualize. Sometimes it is helpful to be reminded.
Every year we have just that with the annual Earth Day celebration (on April 22nd). What is Earth Day? And, what does it mean to you? I set out on a journey to ask local residents that very question.
Cathy was the first person I spoke with. She said Earth Day for her is about “respecting and honoring the Earth” and everything that is on the planet as well.
Respect and honor are two very fundamental words. Traditionally, Native Americans often spoke in those terms. Theirs was a culture that very much focused on that ideology. It was one that encompassed seeing every living thing, including the Earth, as needing to be nurtured and cared for.
For Alexa, Earth Day is a “celebratory day to reflect on my daily actions and first ask if I am doing all I can do to reduce, reuse and repurpose and second to take action where I lay short, because it is the daily changes that can make a lifetime of positive impact.”
It is the daily changes that do make a difference. It is the small contributions when added together that are monumental. And if everyone asked these same questions as Alexa, where might we all be?
Kevin, another local resident, invoked the words “simple and natural” in terms of responsibility and the need for personal and corporate accountability. When asked what simplicity means for him, he provided the example of eating foods that are more natural and less processed. He also listed living a healthy lifestyle as another protocol that is important for him with “healthy” encompassing the full aspect of the term. Not only does he feel having a healthy relationship with others as critical but also with our surroundings as well. In terms of environmental responsibility, he sees not overusing our natural resources as important both short-term and long-term. One of the ways he practices personal responsibility himself can be seen in his pest control choices, making sure that he chooses a company that uses methods that are environmentally-conscientious.
A company’s business practices are very much a part of our personal choices. As consumers, there is much more access to information when it comes to a company’s environmental stewardship and that can be a determining factor in selecting products as well as services.
Earth Day is a time to celebrate our wonderful earth, according to Dina, who said it is when we can “all come together and be united in our efforts of practicing going green.” She views “Mother Nature” as something we need to care for and cites recycling as critical to this process. While she did say that Earth Day has become increasingly more commercialized, she also indicated that may not be a negative because of the international publicity received.
Publicity is critical for any movement to gain leverage as we tend to gravitate to what we know. There is much more copy attributed to Earth Day as evidence by what you are reading right now. That trend, we hope, continues and the day becomes not only a celebration of what can be accomplished but also of what has been accomplished in caring for our planet.
No matter how old we get, respect and honor never goes out of style. Being respectful of our mother transcends to Mother Nature. Without her, we would not be here. Even if starting with just one day not taking that for granted, it is a start, and a step in the right direction.
Note: for a fun and educational Earth Day celebration, come to the Wellington Amphitheater on Sunday, April 19th from 4pm – 7pm.
Bryan Hayes is an actor, amateur photographer, business consultant and full-time lover of all things living. To check out more from Bryan Hayes, please visit his blog at:http://outofthehaze.wordpress.com/