Grey shirt with earh shape on it over wood background

For Earth Day and Every Day, I’m Doing My Part

I remember my first Earth Day. My church had a poster and t-shirts for sale. They were $20 (which back then….wow…) and so cool. I had to have one. In order to pre-order one, I signed up to work a cleanup event. I went, cleaned up the roads, got my shirt. I didn’t realize then that participating in Earth Day for a t-shirt would set me off to constantly trying to make this Earth a bit healthier for the generations to come.

Each year spring arrives and I immediately think of ways to make the spring and summer more vibrant and brilliant. I dream of summer gardens, clean water, lush farm fields, and my children running about enjoying all of these things.

In my part of the country as the snow recedes and the new grass begins to wake and peek through its blades from last year—the ugly of garbage on the ground reveals itself as well. I’m always dismayed on my runs when I see wrappers, containers, random bits of windshield wipers, and even at times, parts of bumpers and tires along the highway and in the ditches. I walk my dogs purposely on these routes again later and carry a garbage bag and gloves.

There are so many things we can do to lessen our impacts on the Earth. Reusable cups, detergents that are environmentally safe, increased recycling, less packaging, walking instead of driving. The list goes on an on and it can be overwhelming. I try to focus on one thing at a time so I don’t lose my mind and start rocking in a corner, worried about the Earth we are leaving to our children. Right now, given the random blizzard and melt cycle taking place in my home state, I’m focusing on picking up anything blowing about.

Most things I do, I do with intention and thought about the footprint I’m leaving behind. Even the coffee I make at home (Okay fine – that my husband makes). We cold brew overnight in a glass container. The grounds and the filter go into the compost bag. The coffee goes in my reusable cup. The cream I use comes in a glass container which is returnable to the store to exchange. I have a metal straw that is washable.

What if each of us made one small, seemingly insignificant change? Always buying lunch at work? Try keeping a metal fork in your desk. It’s simple enough to wash off for the next meal. Repeatedly forgetting your shopping bags at the grocery? Put a couple in your vehicle or backpack and you’ll be all set. If we each make one teeny, tiny change, WE can make one HUGE impact on the Earth.

If we each make one teeny, tiny change, WE can make one HUGE impact on the Earth.

As Earth Day approaches, pick something. Just one thing. Commit to it for a year. Make it a habit. You’ll feel good about doing the right thing, the Earth will have a greater chance to heal itself without our interference, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll inspire someone to do the same.

My ‘one thing’ this year is going to be to no longer use straws that are not reusable or compostable. Let’s do this. Our Earth needs us. And I’m aware…all because of a $20 t-shirt my mom gave me the money to buy. Find your moment of awareness and embrace it.

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