“There would be very little point in my exhausting myself and other conservationists themselves in trying to protect animals and habitats if we weren’t at the same time raising young people to be better stewards.”
~ Jane Goodall
I leave most annual celebrations — birthdays in particular — for kids and grown people who look forward to ‘milestones.’ For me, birthdays are for the mommies.
On my birthday, I prefer to call my mom. After all, she deserves a good hardy pat on the back for the first 20 years or so of my life, particularly for that day that started me into the world — the day she painfully pushed me out. It seems sort of selfish of me to think everyone else owes me a phone call, some flowers, a gift…a card. It’s she who did all the real work. She deserves the rewards.
Having lived through [and survived] each of my own children’s births, it does help me to annually recall minute details of those days each year, lest I strangle them on the remaining 364 days. While they look forward to the ceremonious height-mark on the wall of the laundry room and the happy birthday song and video of them blowing out candles, it is their father and I who wax sentimental about what remaining years we have left living under the same roof with them day-in and day-out.
As for others’
birthdays birth anniversaries, I might or might not remember them, depending upon how much I have going on in my life at the time. These dates mean nothing in particular to me, except that they are important to the person I love. They are just as destined to slip my mind as all the other missed appointments, to-do’s, or forgotten school projects. When I think of you, it generally doesn’t coincide with the day you were born some-odd years ago, and just because I don’t remember you on your day doesn’t mean that I don’t celebrate you in my every other day of the year. I do.
I feel those days are more important anyway.
Earth Day is no different. While it may only be an anniversary to some, a single day or week of the year to shout out environmental awareness and raise support for hippy causes, for me, it’s a daily way of life. I do my part where I can, and sometimes, even when I can’t — like the fact that there is a gas-guzzling SUV in the garage. The older more fuel-efficient minivan gets the daily workout, but the SUV is a practical and environmental answer to airfare-for-six a couple of times a year. It is [self]equipped with a potty and the built-in satellite phone never drops calls or shows zero bars, even in the most remote mountain location. Like our homeowner policy, it’s like insurance that we hope to never use. And it’s paid for, so we think we’ll keep her. Perhaps in another decade or more, we could actually downsize to an electric car. If we’re lucky by then, we will be able to convert it from gasoline to methanol without breaking the law.
Big things aside, doing your small part today is easier than you might think, especially if you live in or near a city like we do. Try one of more of these just for a day. We already do.
1. Take a sink bath and don’t wash your hair or put on make-up. You’re beautiful in your own skin, just as you are.
2. Turn off your smart phone or computer and TV for the day. Listen to the radio instead — which consumes less power — or walk down the street to visit a neighbor.
3. Don’t eat any animal flesh or any foods ‘produced’ from exploited animals.
4. Power down your home air units. Open up the windows for some fresh air or, better yet, go outside.
5. Don’t buy a single unnecessary thing. Know the difference between a “want” and a “need” and put off wants as long as you can.
6. Drive only if you have to and run your errands along the way. Don’t idle in the Starbucks drive-thru; you may “need” your coffee, but you can certainly park and walk in, instead of burning gasoline while going nowhere for it.
7. Don’t waste a drop of water. Drink it if it’s clean; flush your toilet or water a plant if it’s dirty.
8. Go outside with some kids and count the other species that share your space. Become aware of and find joy (not fear) in all the others that share our planet, no matter how small or big.
9. Take a walk through the ‘hood. Look up into the trees. Breathe in and out slowly and purposefully, thanking them silently for that respiration.
10. Smile sincerely at anyone you pass. Be sure to catch their eyes when you do so they will know that they count in this world.
Earth Day — April 22
(This has been modified and re-posted.)