Earth Day is today, April 22, and I am wondering if we could all pause for a moment to think about this silently spinning orb beneath us that we call home. Every day is Earth Day for the residents of this planet, all 7 billion of us, which is a staggering number and one that is taxing the carrying capacity of our planet in many ways. Have you thought much about your planet today? How do you think our planet is doing, overall? Are we taking good care of it?
I think the evidence is all around us that we’re not exactly winning any awards in the stewardship department. We have some pretty major issues facing us—global warming, resource exhaustion, endangered species, crop failure, and lack of clean drinking water, to name a few. I keep looking and listening for the good news and am not seeing or hearing much in return. So, my fellow Earthlings, it’s time for some house cleaning.
There are many simple things we can do to help the planet and ourselves. Let’s start by lighting our nests with compact fluorescent or LED bulbs. Have you had a home energy audit? Time for us both to check that off our lists. With heating oil prices rising every month none of us can afford to heat the outside. How about taking advantage of the many affordable solar options? Our panels are hitting our roof in May. Take inventory of how many things you have plugged into the wall and try to eliminate one or two. Can you live without that hand lotion warmer? And what is your room temperature? Could you put on another layer and lower the thermostat or open the windows and let the breeze blow through instead of shutting yourself inside with your air conditioner? How about your appliances? Are they all energy star rated? Are you doing as much as you can to reduce the waste you create, reuse what you can, and recycle what you can’t?
Let’s take a look around outside. Is there a sunny spot in your yard where you could grow a tomato or some strawberries? Or flowers to help bees, birds and butterflies? Aching backs aside, gardening is a wonderful activity to teach your kids and for your wallet, health and soul! Do you compost? Do you have a place to put a clothesline? The dryer is not only one of the biggest energy users in your house, but all that lint you throw away is actually bits of your clothes wearing out. Do you really have a pest problem and is your lawn really that bad or could you live without adding those chemicals to your house and lawn and, ultimately, the ocean. How much time do you spend outside listening to the birds and observing nature? The average American spends 20 minutes a day, but that includes time spent in a car! Do your kids go out and play? Do you?
These are just some of the many things we can do to become better stewards of our home, the planet Earth. After all, there isn’t another one we can move to when we’ve finished with this one. To quote a Facebook post, “We can’t all do everything, but we can all do something.” Remember, we did not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children. Let’s leave this place for them in better shape than how we found it.