I am not a Birkenstock wearing, Patchouli oil smelling, hairy armpitted, tree hugger. But you don’t have to fit that Hollywood stereotype in order to care about the Earth. I firmly believe this planet is a gift. And as with any gift, once we receive it we become the stewards of the gift to ensure it is healthy and taken care of.
Earth day was born in the anti-war era of the late 1960s and early 1970s, and inspired by the disastrous Santa Barbara oil spill of 1969. It was a time when factories freely dumped toxic waste into waterways, smoke stacks blocked the sun with their black emissions, and damaging the Earth was considered an acceptable consequence of progress.
Times have changed drastically since the flower-child years. Care for the environment has become part of the mainstream and is no longer relegated to the realm of the hippies. Now in its 45th year, Earth Day has become a global event. This year, Earth Day in 2015 falls on April 22, and I plan to take part in the festivities in a way that’s meaningful to me.
My personal passion is trees. I love the idea of planting something that will remove toxins from the atmosphere and give back oxygen. Trees have been essential companions to humans from the very beginning, giving us heat, shelter, shade, paper, furniture, fruit…the list could go on and on. And I know that most of the trees I plant today will continue to help the Earth decades after I’m gone.
Volunteering for a tree planting event is the perfect Earth Day activity for the single girl. Not only do the events take place during the day, but they are group activities so you don’t have to worry about traipsing around the woods all by yourself. I am lucky to live in a large metropolitan area that has many tree-planting events and organizations with which I can easily volunteer. But a quick online search should yield results in your area. If you don’t have the inclination to get your hands dirty, you can even donate a tree. Here are a few sites to get you started:
And if trees are not your passion, here are some other ideas of Earth-loving activities that might suit you…
Volunteer for a beach clean-up day.
Work in a community garden.
Build a compost bin and start composting.
Start carpooling at least one day a week.
Stop buying plastic bottles. Instead, buy filtered/bottled water in bulk and use a reusable travel bottle. I like these BPA-free kind.
Write your elected officials about the causes important to you.
Buy your produce from a farmer’s market or local grower whenever possible.
Of course, taking care of the planet we call home should not be reserved for one day a year. Our efforts to make this world a better place should be an ongoing lifestyle choice. This is the only planet we have. And, unless Captain Kirk teleports in with the news of a new Earth-like planet, we must take care of the one we have. (Besides, have you seen those movies where humans inhabit Earth-like planets? They’re always full of scary things, and the story rarely ends well for the human invaders. I’ll stay right here, thank you very much)
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some trees to plant.