As the title says, it’s Earth Day 2021, so we’ll celebrate it by using today’s post to talk about it. If you’re a Millennial like yours truly, a world where Earth Day as an observance is all you’ve ever known. I remember in elementary school, we’d have ways to celebrate Earth Day with either art class creations or in music class, and I have a vague memory of someone coming in to talk about gardening or whatever.
One year, our class made papier mache globes, and I really struggled with it. That was the year we moved to the neighborhood we’re in now, and I’m pretty sure it got left behind in the move, haha.
One of the Earth Day celebrations from elementary school that still stands out to me is a lyric from one of the songs we sang for music class and the school-wide music program: “Every day is Earth Day.” I don’t remember anything else from it, but that stood out to me.
Every day should be Earth Day, when you really think about it. Just sayin’.
Earth Day got its’ start in 1969 at a UN subsidiary conference, when an activist promoting peace came up with the idea, and a Wisconsin senator backed it. There was an oil spill in Santa Barbara that was the turning point, and made it clear something had to change. It went into effect the following year, and got financial backing from a labor union in the automotive industry. Up until 1990, Earth Day was a U.S. observance, and that’s when the original coordinator took it to other countries.
Earth Day became the catalyst for legislation throughout the 1970s, including the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Superfund program, the Clean Air and Clean Water acts, and the Endangered Species Act.
By the year 2000, the focus had shifted from pollution (which is still no less important), to global warming and climate change.
Last year was the 50th anniversary, and sadly a lot of the events planned were canceled due to the pandemic. The events that were still on were held remotely.
This year’s Earth Day theme is five separate initiatives that make up “Restore Our Earth” as the unifying theme. It’s become a week-long celebration, which I’m totally here for.
Over the years, going green has become a huge thing. At first I wrote it off as a fad that everyone will forget about in like two minutes when they move on to whatever the Powers that Be tell them to move onto and start liking. Then I got to thinking, this is a fad for the greater good, and if it gets more people to shift toward more sustainable ways of being, then cool w/ me.
In that case, this should be a fad that’s here to stay.
I had also seen mention of companies with goals to become carbon neutral by X amount of time, and others come up with tree planting programs with purchases. How much of this is greenwashing, and how much of this is legit remains up in the air, but when I saw The RealReal’s post celebrating their official status as carbon neutral.
Speaking of the concept of carbon neutral, does anyone remember how Barack Obama had a carbon neutral inaugural ball when he took office in 2008? I do.
And Pepperidge Farm remembers too, haha.
All that aside, let’s talk about some ways we can shift toward better sustainability. First and foremost, there’s composting. Personally, I’ve always struggled with it, since every Tom, Dick, and Harry seems to swear by different approaches, and swear that theirs is the end-all, be-all.
My last attempt at it was back in college, and it ended up drawing bugs. However, it hasn’t put me off of it this time around. I’m keeping it outside as an extra precaution, that’s for sure.
When we moved into our new house, I knew the people who lived here before us had a couple of dogs, and I saw instantly that they’d destroyed the yard with holes they’d dug like a foot deep. It didn’t surprise me in the slightest, for numerous reasons.
I found it out the hard way. Thankfully it was on my good side, and I didn’t get hurt too bad.
I hauled my pickle bucket from Firehouse Subs that I’d been using for my composting attempt this time around over to the new house, and I filled up the worst of the holes with it. I still had some top soil from last year, so I added a layer of it to top it all off.
Boom. Good as new!
Ok, that’s great. But what other sustainable ways are there, you may ask.
Another thing that came in handy for the move was my large collection of reusable shopping bags. Now that I’ve emptied most of them after I commandeered them for the move, I can now use them for their intended purpose, haha.
I’ve made shopping kits from the bigger bags, with several smaller ones stuffed inside, along with the little mesh produce bags I’ve managed to find so far.
I know I’ve got more than three, but the others got lost in the move. I know where they’re not, so they’ll probably turn up sooner or later.
I’ve also got some old bed sheets knocking around the house that nobody’s cared about since 8-track players were the hottest thing going. I’ll make some bulk-buy bags from those instead.
In two of my shopping kits, I’ve added a wine bag to the mix. Since I don’t drink, I’ve found that they hold most spaghetti sauce jars, salsa jars, other small stuff, and those glass bottles of pop from the bodega.
It’s a far better way to carry those on my bike than in my purse. True story.
I also keep an insulated lunch box for the hot days to transport small amounts of the cold stuff. Before I lost the weight, I also found it helpful for keeping my restaurant favorites intact (and toasty warm!) on both bike rides and bus rides home.
Over to you, readers. How are you observing Earth Day this year? What steps have you taken for more sustainable ways of living? Drop ’em like they’re hot below!