Every Day is Earth Day
Help the Earth and Still Have Fun!
By Lisa E. Papp
[We first posted Lisa’s article in 2015 and have updated it for 2016.]
With your help, we’re planting trees! We donate to Plant-It 2020 every year to help offset our carbon footprint. When you use #EveryDayEarthDay in social media and when we see your comments here, we’ll make extra donations for more tree seedlings to be planted. Please see the end of this article for #EveryDayEarthDay Tips.
Another Earth Day will come and go this April 22nd. Our beloved Mother Earth is weary and battered because we do not always treat her in the caring way you should treat a beloved.
Just like previous Earth Days, media and advertisers will be busy urging more recycling and promoting supposedly green, eco-friendly products. News reports will emphasize scary stories of climate change. People will attend large demonstrations to protest rampant consumerism and call for stronger and better environmental protections. Ironically, participating in marches and demonstrations for the environment often means that plenty of fossil fuels and resources are used traveling there and back and much garbage is left behind. On a positive note, some or, hopefully many, of us will plant trees, clean up trash, examine and reduce our ongoing personal and business use and over-use of the Earth’s resources.
But what happens after Earth Day…on April 23…and beyond? Is it back to “business as usual”?
What is our real “business” on this planet anyway? Are we here to exhaust Earth’s assets or to sustain them…not just for us but for all species? Since April 22, 1970, when Earth Day was founded, many of our best minds have turned to this issue. Earth Day began as an environmental teach-in thanks to then-U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson and principal national organizer Denis Hayes (President and CEO of the Seattle-based Bullitt Foundation). Hayes lead the effort to take the event international in 1990 and is the board chair of the international Earth Day Network.
Beyond our day-to-day “business” or survival on this planet…is there a more meaningful, higher purpose for our life?
What if our higher purpose includes having fun and enjoying life? Hawaiian Elder and wisdom-keeper Hale Kealohalani Makua in conversations with Dr. Hank Wesselman, PhD (The Bowl of Light – Ancestral Wisdom from a Hawaiian Shaman), explains humanity’s purpose this way…“We were given the gift of knowledge of our purpose and our destiny. First, we were brought here to enjoy ourselves – to grow, increase, and become more than we were – in the beauty of nature on this wonderful world. And, second, we are to remember our divine origins through the experience of love for one another.”
I love Hale Makua’s statement that part of our purpose is to enjoy ourselves! But, perhaps, given the state of the planet right now, we’ve been doing a little too much enjoying and partying on Mother Earth. The Living Planet report (WWF 2008) calculated that humans are using 30% more resources than the Earth can replenish each year, which is leading to deforestation, degraded soils, polluted air and water, and dramatic declines in numbers of fish and other species. The Earth is more than a giant rock moving through space made of material for us to use up. “Good planets are hard to find” isn’t just a catchy phrase but an undeniable reality. Mother Earth is a majestic living planet, nurturing and sustaining us, and she is our home. As we use our house or home, maintenance and repairs are needed.
Most of us who own a house that needs repairs don’t choose to desert it and move elsewhere. We couldn’t afford that. The sci-fi film “Interstellar” depicts a post-apocalyptic future Earth where food and water is scarce, other resources are depleted, and mankind is in danger of extinction. In the movie, astronauts travel to other planets in other galaxies searching for a hospitable new home for humanity. In our world today, even with advances in science and space travel, moving to another planet suitable for human, plant, and animal life is much more fantasy than reality.
Back to those home repairs…if your foundation or walls are dangerously cracked or crumbling, the best choice is to fix and reinforce the structure rather than ignore the problems or paint over the cracks. Mother Earth urgently needs some extra loving care now more than ever. But, as dire as our climate change, environmental, and other challenges seem right now…don’t lose hope! Without hope we feel discouraged or depressed and wonder if our individual actions matter. You are not alone, and your actions do make a difference! There are communities of people all around the planet who are taking actions big and small to clean up Mother Earth. Communities can be virtual or real, with shared ideals or goals, or in a common location or neighborhood. Being connected in community and with group projects can help you feel hopeful and motivate you to do even more to benefit Mother Earth.
We humans are a part of an immense “community” of the Infinite. Rather than compare different religions and how they describe a Creator or Source, I like the way The Holy Universe author David Christopher speaks of the Creator of our grand purpose and process as the “Infinite”: “’The creative force of the Infinite’ better captures the incomprehensible depth and complexity of the processes that drive the creation of galaxies, stars, planets, Earth, and us. This phrase helps me to see and to feel beyond both stories – the story of a determined universe and the story of a random universe – to a story of a mysteriously creative Universe.”
The Holy Universe speaks about the power of our interconnection and of our responsibility to care for Earth. “The Web of Life, Earth, and all the Universe are sacred, worthy of respect, worthy of our reverence and our awe. The Web of Life, which offers its bounty to us that we might live, is deserving of our deepest respect and gratitude.”
Physicists, theologians, and others have been studying and speaking about how we are all connected…to everyone and everything…all animals, plants, rocks…all existence. An exciting upcoming documentary film, “The Connected Universe,” will explore the scientific theory of this interconnectedness.
What if we choose to really feel that we are part of an Infinite Connected Universe? And what if we shift our perspective and vocabulary and replace the word “resources” with “bounty?” We can choose to be thankful in our use of the Earth’s bounty. We can choose to take less. We can be grateful and give thanks when we do take the lives of plants, trees, animals, and other gifts from the Earth. As many indigenous people have done and continue to do…we can give back to the Earth by giving thanks, prayers, offerings, planting trees, and much more. The Iroquois Nations have said: “We are looking ahead to make sure and to make every decision that we make relate to the welfare and well-being of the seventh generation to come.”
Can this shift in thinking and perspective change how we treat the Earth? I think so! It certainly has for me and for many other people. When we are aware of our connection with the Earth and all life, we realize that harm against others and the planet also hurts us. The Holy Universe describes our shift to a new “Planetary Mind”.
Now that I’ve mentioned the need for hope, I don’t want to be a “downer,” but there are a few stark realities about the current state of the environment that indicate we need to do better and do more. Please do keep reading…this piece ends in a hopeful manner and with some Earth-friendly actions we can all do.
Maybe it’s time we got past the highly-charged arguments about whether or not climate change is real. Messages denying the reality of climate change are, most often, tied to corporations (and their shareholders and political lobbyists) who benefit from a lack of strict environmental and manufacturing regulations. The fact is we are using more resources than the Earth can replenish each year. In California alone, there are significant problems:
- In March 2015, scientists reported that California has only one year of water remaining in aquifers! One year!!!
- Although California’s Governor enacted some new water use regulations, they have barely addressed the state’s biggest water users such agriculture, meat and dairy producers, the oil and gas fracking industry, and companies like Nestle’s bottled water processing.
- California’s water shortage will affect food production. Over half of the U.S.’s fruit and nuts come from California, as do a quarter of our vegetables. The percent of veggies would be higher if we excluded our favorite vegetable, potatoes, from the calculation.
- In California and elsewhere, factory-farmed meat and dairy industry is not only cruel to animals but uses a massive amount of water while causing a massive amount of pollution which contributes dramatically to climate change. Plant-based diets are healthier for the planet and for us.
The Living Planet and other reports now predict that by 2030, if nothing changes, mankind would need two planets to support its current lifestyle. The math is clear…this is just not sustainable. In The Great Disruption – Why Climate Change Will Bring On the End of Shopping As We Know It and the Birth of a New World, author and advisor on sustainability Paul Gilding details our increasing challenges due to the combination of overpopulation, overconsumption, and climate change. This isn’t just a problem for the next generation…this is now our problem and it’s a big one. So what can we do now?
The Great Disruption points out that often businesses are more agile and innovative than governments. In addition to eco-friendly work being done by individuals and organizations, there are many corporations operating in an environmentally-friendly manner. We can choose to support those companies with our investment dollars and purchase of their products and services:
- Starbucks now ethically sources 99% of their coffee beans.
- In addition to producing innovative electric cars, Tesla is working on a battery to power our homes.
- Eileen Fisher clothing is already creating clothing using fabrics that meet their VISION2020: “We pledge to use the most sustainable fibers we can lay our hands on. All our cotton and linen will be organic by 2020. Since 2009, we’ve been working with bluesign® technologies to shift our global dyehouses toward responsible chemical, water and energy usage.” Their GREEN EILEEN program recycles used clothing donated back to the company by customers into new clothing and supports programs for women and children.
- Forbes magazine lists 11 of the most environmentally-friendly U.S. companies. Included on the list is Seventh Generation, makers of compostable trash bags and natural cleaning products.
- We can look to countries like Germany, Denmark, Iceland, the U.K., and others that are leading the way by generating 30-100% of their power from renewable “alternative” energy sources like wind, solar, and geothermal.
We can choose to move past placing blame (although polluters do need to be held accountable). We’re all in this together. Most of us on this planet contribute to our Earth’s current challenging situation…as we shop, buy single-use or cheaply-made products made of plastic with masses of packaging, use energy and appliances, and drive our cars. Those of us who are privileged create a bigger carbon footprint on the planet as we are often traveling more, buying more, and living in larger homes. With privilege comes the responsibility to do more than the average person when you reduce, reuse, recycle, and give back.
We can choose to be part of the solution. With a quick online search, you can learn how a company treats the environment, their community, and their employees. With products, you can do a little more research to discover if the ingredients and materials used are harmful or healthy. We’re in the midst of a Great Transformation on our planet right now.
Please join us to make Every Day Earth Day! Have fun with it…give yourself, your family, friends, associates, and online connections a friendly challenge to do a little more and make #EveryDayEarthDay .
We’d love to hear about your ongoing Earth-friendly actions in the comments below and on social media. Please tag your online Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Google+ posts with #EveryDayEarthDay .
With your help, we’re planting more trees!
We’re donating to www.plantit2020.org
when you use #EveryDayEarthDay in social media
and when we see your comments here. Thank you!
#EveryDayEarthDay – Shrub
- Reusable metal water bottles and coffee cups. Glass or BPA-free plastic reusable bottles can be a second choice to metal. Buy one (or some) and take them with you…everywhere…even when you travel by air.
- Reusable shopping bags. Buy some and take them with you…everywhere.
- Buy used. Consignment shops, Craigslist, Ebay, garage sales…there are many options to find quality used products.
- Meatless Mondays – leave out the meat, dairy, and eggs one day a week. Factory-farmed meat and dairy industry uses a massive amount of water, is not kind to animals, and vegetarian and vegan diets have been shown to be better for our health.
#EveryDayEarthDay – Apple Tree
(Thanks for doing a little more)
- Go beyond “Meatless Mondays”…how about “Veggie Weekdays”? You, your wallet, and the planet will be healthier.
- Plant trees. Carbon credits to compensate for fossil fuel use just don’t work, unfortunately. The credits aren’t used for reforestation. How about donating to plant trees every month to offset your travel and oil and gas use? We support www.plantit2020.org which plants and maintains tree seedlings all over the world in areas that will not be harvested. $1 per seedling and your donation is tax-deductible!
- Buy less. Are we really happier with more stuff? Studies show we are not.
- Recycling helps, in some cases. In many cases, there is no manufacturing facility or use for products we put out to be recycled. Buying less and buying quality that will last are the wiser choices.
#EveryDayEarthDay – Pine Tree
(BIG thanks for doing even more)
- Buy products that are well-made and made to last. Don’t buy disposable, single or limited-use products.
- Share. Does everyone on your block need their own lawnmower or can you share tools? The sharing economy has blossomed with people sharing use of their homes through Airbnb and rides in their car via Uber and Lyft.
- Go Solar. Solar technology is more efficient and affordable than ever and adds value to your home or commercial building. Lisa is now helping residential homeowners and commercial building owners in over 20 states (California, Arizona, Texas, New York, Connecticut, and more) upgrade to solar power. You can save money on your electricity bills and help the planet. If you’d like more info, please visit Lisa’s solar site: www.solarispractical.net .
- Support companies with products that are truly eco-friendly and are not just “greenwashing” their advertising. Most chemical companies cleansers are not “natural” or environmentally-friendly…they’re chemicals. Baking soda or vinegar are safe and inexpensive choices for cleaning.
- Unsubscribe from catalogs and snail mailing advertising. PaperKarma is a free smartphone app that easily helps remove you from mailing lists.
#EveryDayEarthDay – Redwood
(SUPER BIG thanks for doing so much!)
- Instead of a grass lawn to mow and treat with chemicals, how about planting food?
Fruit trees, veggies, strawberries, and herbs replaced our front lawn and we have a vegetable garden and greenhouse in our backyard.
- No room for a garden or pots of veggies or don’t have the skills? Buy from your local organic farmers (many large grocery stores carry products from local farmers), natural food co-operatives, and CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture).
- Build or buy a smaller home. Tiny homes are popular now. When you remodel, choose recycled, repurposed, and sustainable/green materials.
- Support companies with green products and those who use or provide alternative energy – electric cars, solar power, geothermal, products like decking material made out of recycled plastic.
Thanks for all you do to make Every Day Earth Day! We look forward to hearing from you and thanks for sharing #EveryDayEarthDay positive messages! ~ Lisa and Jim Papp
Feel free to share this article, in part or in whole. Please include a link back to our site and this info:
http://inquirewithin.com/every-day-is-earth-day-2016 © Lisa E. Papp
References and Resources:
Earth Day Network – Denis Hayes is the board chair of this international organization. He was principal national organizer of Earth Day 1970 and lead the effort to take the event international in 1990.
Denis Hayes also leads The Bullitt Foundation as President and CEO. The Foundation’s Mission is to safeguard the natural environment by promoting responsible human activities and sustainable communities in the Pacific Northwest. The Foundation is located in the Bullitt Center in Seattle, the greenest commercial building in the world. The goal of the Bullitt Center is to drive change in the marketplace faster and further by showing what’s possible today.
Sustainable Connections – Their Mission is to be the forum where businesses come together to transform and model a vibrant local economy built on sustainable practices.
www.InquireWithin.com – James K. and Lisa E. Papp – Inquire Within – A Guide to Living in Spirit by James K. Papp
Thank you to Rob and Victory Schouten for use of the beautiful “Earth” image by Rob Schouten – RobSchoutenGallery.com
The Bowl of Light – Ancestral Wisdom from a Hawaiian Shaman by Dr. Hank Wesselman, PhD
The Connected Universe documentary film, Director Malcom Carter. This film explores new understandings in scientific theory that reveal a bigger picture of interconnection than we have ever imagined. Lisa and her Social Media Management team (including the fabulous Social Media Manager Wendy Sue Noah) helped the crowdfunding campaign become the highest funded documentary film in Indiegogo history. Donations can still be made at www.TheConnectedUniverseFilm.com .
Cradle to Cradle – by William McDonough – Company by company, product by product, the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute is changing the way we make things.
The Holy Universe by David Christopher – “Insightful and thought-provoking. . . The Holy Universe connects the dots between challenges faced by ancient cultures and those confronting us today, in ways that inspire us all to take action.” ~ John Perkins, Author of “Hoodwinked”
Plant-It 2020 is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit foundation that performs worldwide tree-planting at $1 per tree seedling, donates fuel-efficient cooking stoves to needy families, and provides forestry, soil, and biochar education. For every US $1, you can have an indigenous tree properly planted, maintained and protected where you prefer.
The Arbor Day Foundation inspires people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees. Join to buy trees and seedlings, if you have space to plant trees in your yard or town.
Over Population and Over Consumption in Pictures:
Factory Farming and Pollution:
How ordinary people actually can help prevent global disaster: