How come we celebrate Sun-day and Moon-day every week, but Earth Day comes but once a year? Doesn’t the Earth do enough for us? Doesn’t it feed us and give us a place to keep our things? What does it have to do to get our attention, team up with Wind and Fire to create timeless hits spanning genres from R&B to disco? Oh, wait, it already did that, and we STILL only give it one day a year—in a week it has to share with 4/20, the Spring Equinox, and Arbor Day, nonetheless. Well, that’s the way of the world, I suppose. (see what I did there?)
One might argue that every day is Earth Day, sort of like how every day is Kids’ Day, and this thing we “celebrate” (if you can call skipping a shower “celebrating”) is just a fear/guilt trip, c/o the 1970 enviro-hippies. One might argue that they just took the name of something people already enjoyed, rebranded it with their lifestyle agenda, and made a day all about themselves. It’s like their version of a Hallmark holiday, but if Hallmark were trying to make you stop eating meat and feel bad about all the trees that died to make greeting cards.
Calm down, I’m just being a jerk. Protecting the environment is important for many reasons, and even small gestures toward that goal are meaningful.
For me, good motivation doesn’t come from guilt though; it comes from love. And there’s a lot to love about nature, from its brutality to its delicate intricacy. I also like knowing how things work, and I’m really grateful that environmental sciences have become such a robust field. (I guess I have to thank the hippies for that—thanks, hippies! Sorry about what I said earlier.) Anyway, it enriches my experience to take my little bit of knowledge out for a hike now and then, and celebrate the Earth by enjoying it. As a consequence of that enjoyment, I find that it gives me pleasure to do things that help keep it nice.
As much as I believe in education, I don’t like it when people tell me how to live and what my priorities should be, so I’ll try not to get too preachy about how we can honor the Earth. There are, however, some things that really get under my skin: I don’t like it when I show up to a beautiful swimming hole and find piles of dirty diapers and beer cans tucked under the bushes (seriously, who are these drunk babies?). It’s gross, and annoying… although, I do get to feel smug as hell when I pack it out, so I guess there’s that.
My point is, go to the park this week, and as often as possible. Fall in love with the absolute glory that is hardened lava flows worn down smooth over the course of millennia, the trees that cling to the cracks in the creek bed while seasonal floods turn them into living driftwood, the desperately flourishing wildflowers that explode from seed to bloom to seed again before the heat can burn their bodies into straw. And when you leave, please take your garbage with you.