‘They’ say we need 8 hugs a day to be at our best.
‘They’ say each person needs 56 trees’ oxygen to offset her personal production of carbon dioxide.
How many hugs then do trees need – or deserve – for taking care of us each and every day?
Before you read further: go hug. Hug a person and/or a tree.
Not aware of Earth Day? It’s probably because it’s not a Hallmark holiday. That’s a good thing – (wasted) paper would exhaust the very resources to celebrate: trees and water.
But the downside: it’s not well celebrated – and our survival depends on it. Literally.
Wikipedia ‘facts’: Earth Day (the first in 1970) and International Mother Earth Day (by the United Nations in 2009) is observed annually on April 22 in support for environmental protection. Around the planet, people are listening to music, learning about eco-friendly technology, recycling electronics, clothes, bottles and cans, and participating in cleanups.
I’ve done beach clean-ups, including in the Hurricane Sandy devastated Rockaway’s. One long-time Rockaway resident observed: ‘lots of people come here to clean up on one day. Then, nothing. Nobody comes to clean when the beaches get crowded – and dirtier.’
It’s true of course.
We put a lot of momentum into one day, and then go about our business.
That one day is our consolation, and a commemorative prize.
But I wonder: why do the beaches need to be ‘picked up’ so often? We’ve picked up cigarette butts, toys, bottles, cans, socks, towels, styrofoam cups, those big plastic cups, straws, and suntan lotion bottles. In April or May. Long before beach season begins.
People must believe it’s okay to bury their garbage along with their heads or feet in the sand…. Or that small stuff, like thousands of cigarette butts won’t make a difference because they are small.
Btw, cigarette butts don’t degrade.
Saturday, I volunteered with Riverkeeper, at NYC’s Hudson River Greenway. The bright sunny day masked the freezing wind, keeping people moving along the beautiful green space that parallels the High Line and the Hudson River. This event brought several environmental groups together to share information.
(Interestingly, I was told, environmental groups compete for attention and funding, often not communicating and sharing thoughts and action.)
The passing public collected ‘swag‘: reusable bags from Magnolia Bakery, Aveeno face cream, and pamphlets. People love free stuff.
I asked one event participant why Earth Day wasn’t a widely celebrated ‘event’.
‘Exhaustion from being over publicized’
I wonder if it’s become like the boy calling ‘wolf’: the environmentalist calling ‘global warming, global devastation’ one time too many.
And we deal best with catastrophes when they strike – all of us trying to stay afloat between devastating events from super storms to job loss. Exhausting!
It’s almost understandable that clean air, water, healthy food, the diverse ecosystems that provides these things are exhausting to think about. Much less do anything about it. I’ve often seen bottles in cans in Whole Foods garbage cans when a recycling bin is steps aways (and yes, I take them out and settle them in their proper receptacle!)
But here’s the most interesting thing: Earth Day and Holocaust Remembrance Day are days apart.
Maybe. But these two days are joined in a tight hug.
Wars, hate crimes, genocides ultimately are over resources. Natural resources that come from the Earth.
People are killed over land, water, diamonds. Food. Not to mention Nike’s.
So my thoughts on this beautiful Earth Day are: Stand-up!
Hug a tree. Hug a person.
Fight Genocide – fight for a healthy planet.
You can prevent war- reduce your consumption of ‘stuff’, turn off the water, drive less, recycle.
Let’s focus on quality – not quantity. Let’s care enough about ourselves and future generations to leave them a real inheritance.
Stand up by donating time, money, and energy. Talk about and share these organizations:
JNF (starting planting trees in Israel in 1901!)
A Meaningful World (anti-Genocide)