A while back, I watched an All in the Family episode where Archie’s daughter and son-in-law bemoaned pollution, contaminated water, and lack of quality food. Though 40 years had passed, we all know they could have been talking about America in 2012. While pollution has reduced in certain respects, waterways continue to be destroyed by dumping and strip mining, the air remains assaulted by poisons, and the food supply is a petri dish of chemicals, mutations, and disease. New ways continue to be invented to destroy the planet so that very, very, very few people can profit. Welcome to the 42nd annual Earth Day!
Earth Day is Sunday, April 22, though I propose we rename it. Let’s call it Home Day. You see, we need Earth more than Earth needs us and she is belching us off the planet in direct response to the years of abuse we have heaped on her. Sadly, people who have lived in Earth-honoring ways – island peoples, Amazonians – have been caught in the crossfire, while those who pollute receive cover from governments and their agencies. If we see a spike in Lyme Disease this year, will anyone hold the significant scientific minority of climate deniers – the ones who speak for the oil companies so they can proceed with impunity – responsible, since the ticks didn’t have their usual die off during the warmer-than-usual winter?
But what if we call it Home Day? Might that make a difference? People don’t like their homes being attacked. They bristle at anyone coming onto their property. But a house is a temporary structure mounted directly on the planet, our true home. We can move from state-to-state or around the world and still we remain on Planet Earth. A tornado or tsunami might strike down the structure and if we’re lucky enough to survive, we can still find a new dwelling and it must be placed on Planet Earth. Earth is not an abstract concept, or at least it shouldn’t be. Without it, we have no place to live. So why do we acquiesce to the moneyed-few who want to make our home uninhabitable? Why do we allow our elected officials to do the same? They might be blinded by prestige and dollar signs, but that hasn’t trickled down to the vast majority of humanity. Let’s make Earth Day Home Day and start raising a stink about how a select few are trespassing and destroying our home, making it difficult to enjoy a peaceful existence.
Five Ways to Celebrate Earth Day
- Rename It Home Day: And start acting like our home is at stake whenever we hear something fishy come from industry.
- Plant Something: A tree, a shrub, ornamental flowers, or best of all, edible plants.
- Sit in Nature, That Is All: Find a rock by a brook or a tree in a meadow or park. Sit there without books, computers, phones, friends, or pets. Observe the mammals, birds, and insects around you. Feel the air hit your face, arms, and whatever else is exposed. Sniff it. What do you smell? Is it clean? Is it industrial? Look around you at the rest of the natural landscape. Notice that you aren’t bigger than it. In fact, you are small. Remember that you are a part of nature, not its ruler. Act the part.
- Eat Real Food, Nourished by Ma Earth: If Twinkies grew from the ground like a beet or fell off trees like a coconut or came from the water like a fish or fed on pasture like a cow, I’d tell everyone to go have a Twinkie! The Twinkie is a chemical concoction full of synthetic laboratory inventions, refined sugars, and even mined materials. In part, it might be of the Earth, but it sure ain’t food! If this Sunday is the only day you do this, pick only foods that contain one ingredient for each meal – a cucumber, a beef (grass-finished as nature intended), a blackberry, a mango, a cabbage, an oat, water – and avail yourself of the bounty that comes from properly-raised foods nourished by the earth. [Warning: Could Be Habit Forming!]
- Commit to Your Home: For the majority of humanity to benefit from the health, happiness, and abundance Earth wants to give us, we must embody the spirit of Earth Day every day. Earth Day isn’t a confessional where we reveal our sins and a few slogans will let us go on to continue our cherished habits, though that’s how we treat it. Sunday: “Oh, it’s Earth Day! Let’s go to some rally or garden event!” Monday: “…and an order of large fries.” If we want to ensure that this home will continue to be hospitable, let’s make the celebrations permanent, prioritizing the Earth Home over the dwellings we erect. Just because we can chemically treat a lawn, doesn’t mean we should. The water will thank you. Flora and fauna will thank you. And our bodies will be thankful, too. That is but one example.
Earth Day is this Sunday. Home Day is every day. Celebrate each as though our lives depend on them.