Posts Tagged With: Earth Day

Bunnies, Eggs, and Earth Day

Among the dozens of Easter eggs that were decorated this past weekend, one of my talented progeny painted the planet. Very well, too. It was an instantly recognizable, if slightly pointy at the North and South Poles, miniature version of the Earth.

This, of course, is not a bad metaphor on Earth Day. One could point out all sorts of appropriate comparisons about this planet’s fragility and the superficial (to it, if not to those of us who populate it) political and racial divisions we overlay on its surface. Feel free to come up with your own; I’m not going to belabor the point.

All I really have the energy for is paying minimal attention to my own little portion of the planet. After a cold and bitter winter, the yard is looking ragged. Last year’s stalks still cover the flower beds. Scatters of gravel—collateral damage from shoveling the driveway—litter the grass. It all looks neglected and unkempt.

But that’s not all. Tulips and daffodils are not blooming yet, but the plants are several inches tall and growing fast. Irregular spikes of bright green grass are prompting me to wonder whether the lawn mower will start. The buffalo grass is beginning to show a dignified soft green beneath last year’s dried curls. I saw two blooming dandelions yesterday. I suspect the thistles are limbering their muscles and polishing their brass knuckles, preparing for another season of bullying their way in where they aren’t wanted. And in the warren under the bushes, where one stout cottontail rabbit spent the winter, now there are three. This morning, after yesterday’s rain, the outdoors smells like growing things and earthworms.

Speaking of growing things, yesterday I got to help a couple of grandchildren color eggs. They took this task quite seriously, and we managed to accomplish it with minimal conflict and no spilled bowls of dye. When we were done, we had several hands full of blue and purple fingers, but there were no stains on the new shirt I unwisely wore, and the dog was the same color he was when we started.

We enjoyed the process. We admired the finished eggs in all their colorful glory. Then, in the spirit of spring, resurrection, and Earth Day (reduce, reuse, recycle), we peeled several and ate them for lunch. Because a boiled egg, no matter how beautifully decorated, is still an egg.

Categories: Family, Living Consciously | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Everyday Earth Days

Did you do anything special in honor of Earth Day this week? I didn’t, really, unless you count having leftovers for lunch.

I never even thought of this habit as environmentally friendly, until after lunch when I heard a radio interview about wasting food. So now I can pat myself on the back for avoiding food waste, when all this time I thought I was merely avoiding cooking. I can even feel proud of my extra commitment to saving energy. Not only do I practice efficiency by cooking once and eating twice (or three times or sometimes even four), but sometimes I save even more energy by refrigerating, microwaving, and eating the leftovers in the same bowl.

Overall, I do live a fairly “green” lifestyle. Almost every week, for example, I dutifully haul my reusable bags off to the grocery store. And at least, oh, half the time, I even remember to take them into the store with me instead of realizing when I get to the checkout that the bags are still in the back seat of the car.

I don’t buy snacks in single-serving packages. You can’t imagine how eco-friendly and virtuous it feels to buy M&M’s by the large 12-ounce bag instead of in those plastic-wasting little bags.

I don’t pollute the environment with toxic cleaning products, because I hardly ever do any cleaning. And when I do, I generally use plain water, because either I can’t find any cleaning products, I’ve forgotten to buy cleaning products, or it’s been so long since I did any cleaning that the cleaning products in the cupboard have all evaporated.

I don’t waste resources on lawn care. First of all, I generally don’t apply fertilizers and weed-killers. Second, I do very little watering. This approach not only conserves water and keeps potentially harmful chemicals out of the environment, it also means the grass doesn’t grow very well. As a result, I save even more energy (my own and the planet’s) because I only need to mow the yard about once a month.

I don’t buy bottled water. With rare exceptions; I have to admit we did buy a case of 24 bottles back in February. We were traveling, forgot to fill our reusable water bottles, and stopped at a store to buy a gallon. We found that a) they didn’t have water by the gallon and b) buying the 24 bottles on sale was by far the cheapest option unless we wanted to consider getting lite beer. I’ve felt guilty ever since we walked out of the store with them. This week, thank goodness, we used the last bottle. It was a weight off my environmentally-conscious conscience.

And that reminds me of an environmental irony I noticed recently. That icon of green living, a little hybrid car, was parked in front of an office building. The back cargo area was filled with cases of bottled water.

I bet there was a single-serving bag of M&M’s in the glove compartment, too.

Categories: Food and Drink, Living Consciously | Tags: , | 2 Comments

In Honor of Earth Day

Celebrating Earth Day in the Black Hills this week was a bit of a challenge. For one thing, we couldn’t see any actual earth, since it was covered by ten inches of fresh snow. Not that the snow was a bad thing. After last year’s hot, dry summer and this past mild, dry winter, the earth around here needs all the moisture it can get. We’ll take our April showers even if they have to be shoveled.

Snow shoveling may not be as traditional a way to observe Earth Day as, say, showing up at a rally in your Birkenstocks and “I Heart Mother Earth” tee shirt, but sometimes a woman’s got to do what a woman’s got to do. Especially if she wants to be able to get out of the driveway.

Besides, there are other ways to celebrate. Earth Day, like any other holiday or special observance from Easter to the Fourth of July, has come to be marked in that quintessentially American way.

With sales.

Apparently, in the spirit of enhancing our environment and protecting our planet, we’re supposed to drive to the mall and buy more stuff. Stuff to fill up our oversized houses. Stuff frequently made in Chinese factories that seem only moderately concerned about carbon emissions or pollution. Stuff that is transported halfway around the world in ships and trucks using fossil fuels.

But maybe I’m not being fair. The Earth Day sale ads in last weekend’s newspaper were full of things described as “organic,” “sustainable,” and “recycled.” These were Earth-friendly products, folks. Like the “pure and natural” disposable diapers with “fluff pulp from certified sustainably managed forests.” (Just try to say that fast while you’re changing a squirming baby.) I’m sure that fluff will sustain the diapers well through all the decades they will spend inside plastic bags at landfills.

Practically everything in the ads contained “naturally derived ingredients.” If it’s natural, of course, that has to mean it’s good for the environment and good for us. Just like some of nature’s finest substances: arsenic, mercury, and sulfuric acid.

Anything that wasn’t “natural” was “organic,” including yogurt and baby food. There was no mention of whether all the plastic in the single-serving containers was organic, though. The prepackaged macaroni and cheese wasn’t specifically labeled as organic, but it was “made with wheat using organic farming practices.” What the heck; that’s almost the same thing.

My favorite Earth-friendly item, however, was described as “a renewable resource.” The packaging was made from “up to 30% plant-based material.” That wasn’t the individual plastic containers, you understand; just the plastic wrap that held the 24-pack of containers together. The product, by the way, was a classic renewable substance. Water. Hey, it’s Earth Day! Let’s all go stock up on plastic bottles of water! What a great idea!

This deep and profound honoring of the true spirit of Earth Day reminds me of another naturally-derived product. A lot of that particular substance is produced by advertising copywriters. The rest of it comes from bulls.

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