Earth Day Thoughts (and Actions)
It can be hard to feel hopeful on Earth Day. I saw a post in my neighborhood Facebook group this morning. Someone reported that she saw a muskrat kit in the riverfront park and encouraged people to keep an eye out and to keep their dogs leashed. Less than an hour later, there had been an update. The poor kit was, in fact, attacked by an off leash dog. It was an avoidable event, had only the human involved exercised more care.
I don’t know whether “hope” is the point of Earth Day (is it?). I think of it as being about raising awareness and taking action. Or, as some people say, “making every day Earth Day.” That’s where the hope is for me. I’m taking part in a one-off volunteer event tomorrow. We’ll pick up litter and dumped tires and even plant some blueberry bushes. I’m glad we’re doing it. It’s great for community-building and is a small step in doing something for the planet. The next level of stewardship would be having people picking up throughout the year (and, of course, not littering or dumping at all).
Someone in Pittsburgh was organizing a balloon release following last week’s mass shooting at an Airbnb. There was no talking to the (possibly grieving) organizer about choosing another action to honor the victims. I may be getting into a sticky wicket by even bringing this up. But it’s as if commenters had to choose between at-risk kids and conservation. Meanwhile, caring for the planet is a step in caring for current and future generations.
It seems my headspace this morning was consumed by local frustrations: the muskrat, the balloon release, the violence, the need for more regular clean ups, etc. Something else in my head – perhaps to widen my perspective and combat these negative thoughts – is the Earthrise photo (the one at the top of this post) and the perspective it provides. I hope we can all take a step back and consider through a wider lens this globe we call home and how we can tend to its very real needs. And if you can’t achieve feeling hopeful at least you can take action.
Learn more about the Earthrise photo (with a dose of David Bowie) in my 2018 blog post, Feeling Alone, Then Together. Also, I’m nearly through Gretel Ehrlich’s Unsolaced: Along the Way to All That Is. She shared her experiences with the climate crisis, writing from the perspective of someone who has witnessed firsthand melting ice in Greenland, California wildfires, and arid land in Zimbabwe. I still have 50 or so pages to go but would recommend it based on what I’ve read thus far.