This past Tuesday, was Earth Day. I am a huge fan of Earth Day. It’s a day full of great festivals, fun activities, and most of all, it is on this day seven years ago that I met my hero…Burt, of Burt’s Bees.
It was magical. His little conductor’s hat. The smell of mint. And of course, free Burt’s Bees samples. Score!
The memory of that day will always have a special place in my heart. But my fondness for Earth Day is more than just a memory, it is also a day to celebrate something I love. I know, for some of you this might be your cue to roll your eyes and stop reading. Please don’t! Because, as the title of this week’s post says, Earth Day is for you too! Let me share a few of the reasons that make this such a special day for me, and hopefully, for you too.
You Heard Mary Poppins, Feed the Birds!
A few weeks ago, my son Theo and I made a birdseed craft, or “bird cookies” as Theo took to calling them. It was a simple craft where you mixed together a few ingredients, cut the “dough” out like cookies, and when it dried, you had a treat for the birds!
Theo really enjoys making things with his hands and he loves being outside, so this craft was the best of both worlds. While making the treats, I talked to him about birds: what they eat, how they can be so pretty, and how there are hundreds upon hundreds of different kinds. When the treats were ready the next day, Theo was pumped to go outside and share his baked goods with his feathered friends.
But, what I loved most about this experience was the sense of exploration and discovery that come from spending time outdoors. I loved sharing with my son one of the many ways that this earth is awesome. I loved walking into our backyard with a treat for the birds and taking time to notice and care for the wonderful little critters that make their home with us. How often do we go blindly through this world from task, to job, to activity, without ever stopping to notice that this earth is beautiful and the creatures living amongst us are majestic and cool, even the weird and scary ones.
Earth Day is 365 Days a Year
This week for Earth Day, I took my boys to a festival and walked around looking at “green” companies, products and foods. One thing I appreciate and connect with the most about natural and sustainable living is that a lot of it is taking us back to the basics; cloth diapering, reusable packaging, all natural cleaning and beauty products and homemade food. I can’t get enough of it! There is something so fundamentally satisfying about this lifestyle and it’s call to resourcefulness, mindfulness and conservation.
A Tree Grows in
Brooklyn Wayne County
Yesterday, my dad planted a few trees. He has been slowly adding more trees each year to his property, sometimes with purchased trees, but more often then not, going out into the woods and finding young saplings to transplant.
My dad will tell you that he learned how to cultivate trees from his dad, my grandpa. Now, my dad is passing along his knowledge to my family. I’ve helped him with his transplanting in the past, and this week even Theo joined in on the fun. As I sat holding Oliver and watching my Dad and Theo dig in the dirt, I asked him to tell me more about his experience of planting trees with grandpa.
“I don’t know if your grandpa would have called himself a conservationist,” he told me, “but we sure planted a lot of trees together.”
I love that. My grandpa might not have been a poster boy for the green movement, yet he had a love of planting and nurturing trees. This dichotomy hits at the core of why I believe Earth Day is for everyone- not just the conservationists, or the hippies, or the people who drive electric vehicles. There is so much to fall in love with beyond the walls of our homes and jobs, but it requires you to first step outside to discover what is out there for you to love. And trust me, there is something for everyone.
It’s Not All or Nothing
I try to bring balance to every aspect of my life, and these ideas are a huge part of that balance. I balance this crazy fast paced world with a walk in the woods. I balance my cravings for pizza and french fries with homemade meals and homegrown veggies. I balance the consumer vortex that is child-rearing in the 21st Century with cloth diapering and a focus on less toys and more play.
But what really connects me to, and excites me about Earth Day, and what I believe will excite you too, is my belief that Earth Day is less about the earth, and more about you. It’s basically You Day! Let me explain.
I know from personal experience that we protect and nurture the things we love, whether it be our families, a pet, our jobs, a talent or a belonging. For me, I love this amazing earth that God’s given us to live in and enjoy. As a result, I want to take care of it.
We talk a lot about taking care of our bodies, our money, etc. But why do we feel like taking care of this world is something that only a certain subculture does? Or worse, why do we make this topic a pawn in the never ending political, religious and social arguments? What I do know is this: this blog is not a platform for arguments, but instead, a place where I can hopefully inspire you-no matter where you are at on this topic-to simply slow down, get up, step out, and look around you.
Take a few moments today, or this weekend, to cultivate a relationship with the world around you like you would a person. Spend time outside, getting to know your area, and hopefully, fall a little in love. And then, maybe you will understand that Earth Day is for you too.