by Dan Efran
What’s the point of having a holiday to honor and protect the earth? Aren’t we supposed to do that all the time?
Well, we’re supposed to be grateful for our parents all the time, but we have holidays to honor them!
Earth Day is an opportunity to think about how you’ve treated the earth (and how the earth has treated you) in the past year, and to strive to improve that relationship. Earth Day is a great opportunity to commit yourself to positive change. We suggest you do three things this Earth Day:
- Appreciate what we stand to lose. Go for a walk in a park, watch the sunrise, or just take a good look at a flower or a tree or an animal and notice how wonderful it is.
- Do something special, just for Earth Day, like one of these things:
- Go for a walk around your neighborhood. Bring a trash bag, and collect everything recyclable you see. If your neighborhood is like most, you’ll probably have a full bag pretty soon. Is there any way you can help your community recycle more?
- Try a new habit that’s better for the environment but that you’re not ready to take on permanently.
- Carry a trash bag with you all day. Everything you would normally throw away, put into this bag instead. At the end of the day, you’ll know how much trash you produce all by yourself in one day. Multiply by 365 to estimate how much you’ll throw away this year. Could you have avoided any of it?
- Write a letter to a company whose products damage the environment, a company whose packaging is more wasteful than it needs to be, or a company you want to praise for avoiding those problems. Or write to a politician about a local environmental issue.
- Don’t buy any gasoline today. Fossil fuels create pollution, and they’re non-renewable: someday we’ll run out. But most people blithely waste fuel and complain if their gasoline costs more than milk. How can you, personally, use less fuel? Perhaps there’s a bus or carpool that could take you to work or school. Perhaps you could get some exercise by walking or bicycling.
- Don’t eat any meat today. Raising animals uses far more land and energy than it would take to grow the same amount of nutrition in plant form. Besides, non-meat foods are generally better for you.
- Make an Earth Day Resolution, one permanent lifestyle change that will make a difference, and try to stick to it from now on. Check out our Do’s and Don’ts list for some suggestions.