I don’t know if I’d qualify as an Earth Day cynic, considering my companion piece to this post is called “Earth Day is the New Valentine’s Day,” but I’m finding it hard this year to get excited about Earth Day more than any other day… and secretly, I’m wondering if anyone else around here feels the same. I mean, Earth Day used to feel like an important cause back when most people were mindless about the environment, and about the consequences of our actions. For at least one day of the year, people would try and remember we live in an ecosystem. Maybe we would even take some efforts, for just that one day, to screw up the planet just a little bit less. And, wouldn’t that feel good? Then we could go back to business as usual the other 364 days of the year. I’m not even really being sarcastic here, not entirely. There used to be no such thing as an eco-friendly cleaning product, unless you were using vinegar or something similar. And, back then, when there was no alternative, if someone were to suggest corporate America was poisoning the earth with toxic chemical waste, it’s no surprise the environmental movement was garnered with the anti-business scarlet letter. A lot of progress has been made on all sides since those days. The sustainability movement has in large part replaced the environmental movement. Business is no longer the enemy of the environment in most cases and vice versa. There are win-wins available today and more people are looking for them. Of course, there are still some dinosaurs out there who really just don’t seem to care about the earth, and these companies deserve to go extinct in my opinion. All in good time. Back to Earth Day, things are more complicated today than they used to be. These days, people are more environmentally aware all year round. And, that makes it harder to do something special for the planet on Earth Day. Most of my friends recycle, and if you’re reading this website, you and your friends probably do as well. I live in a community where we compost our own organic waste and turn it back into soil, which we use to plant food in our gardens. So, for a lot of us these days, every day is Earth Day. And, if every day is Earth Day because more and more of us are making lifestyle changes, and making efforts not only on a daily basis, but also in a lot of cases on a choice-by-choice basis to honor and protect the earth and to try and restore balance to the ecosystem, then what is there left to do on Earth Day? It seems the job is in large part done. Reality check: Not so much. It’s true more and more of us are becoming aware. But, there’s a long way to go. In a recent poll, over 50% of Americans don’t even believe in global warming or that climate change is due to human activity. So, that means all of us — especially you reading this post — are the pioneers. We’re still way early to the party. So, what does one do on Earth Day when we are already trying to honor the earth every other day? We can do a lot. We can get out of our comfort zone a little more. Do that one thing we’ve been resisting — in my case, taking efforts to use fewer paper towels, for instance. Because no matter how much we do every single day, we know we can always do more. And, we can inspire others to do something. We can do our part to help other people remember that we’re all living here together in an ecosystem, and we’re all connected. Maybe things haven’t changed so much after all. We have come a long way, but there is still such a long way to go. And, until we get there, Earth Day is a chance for everyone on the planet to come together and agree, at least for one day, that this planet is worth protecting.
How is Earth Day Different from Any Other Day?
Live every day like it’s Earth Day, sure, but we can all still step it up to get others involved.