How to celebrate Earth Day at home
I have a confession to make. I am not a huge fan of one-day celebration “days.” True, they help us bring important things to a more conscious level: let your significant other know that you love them on Valentine’s Day; tell Mom she’s the best on Mother’s Day; remember for a day that the Earth is important.
Where I experience discomfort is that they often feel like going to confession once a year. They simply serve as a moment of collective thoughtfulness in our otherwise habitual, asleep, pattern-driven lives. Earth Whisperers are on a journey to evolve and wake up. Waking up means that we become aware of patterns and consciously choose the ones we want to maintain and discard the ones that don’t serve us or cause potential harm to those around us. Earth Whisperers also live by the framework of the 13 Life Principles that serve as a guide for this journey to evolve. One of the highly relevant principles on Earth Day is called Respect. Respect is the cornerstone of a new human future and a new human-Earth accord. Respect is unconditional.
When unconditional love and respect are the state of being in a relationship, every day becomes a celebration of each other’s beauty and magnificence. When respect is the foundation upon which we walk this beautiful Earth we inhabit, our daily choices are informed by something more precious than pure convenience.
So, when I’m asked how to celebrate Earth Day at home, the best way I can think of is really look at the patterns you have that may not serve the Earth in the best way and commit to changing at least one, more if possible.
Here are some ideas you can consider for this Earth Day habit-busting project:
1. Reduce Your Plastic Use
Earth Whisperers understand that oil acts as shock absorber for the Earth. Our relentless harvesting of this precious substance is causing far more harm to the Earth than we are aware of. Plastic pollution is the harm humans are becoming increasingly aware of.
A few years ago Rennie and I traveled to Vietnam with about 15 other delegates from the peace efforts in the 60s. We traveled from North to South together in a little mini-bus. Each morning our guide arrived with a box full of plastic water bottles. Over the course of the day each of us would consume 2 – 3 of these bottles. I started calculating: 15 people drinking three bottles of water a day for 7 days. Our little group in the span of one little week produced waste of 315 plastic bottles. It was such a daunting realization and only worsened when I continued multiplying that number by the millions of people drinking from plastic water bottles EVERY day.
More and more evidence is surfacing of the devastating effect human plastic is having especially on the oceans. A few weeks ago two dead whales beached. They each were found to have between 40 and 50 pounds of plastic waste in their stomachs. A recent test found that nearly every salt now has micro plastics in them. “Islands” of plastic are now found in every ocean, the biggest in the Pacific Ocean twice the size of Texas. Here is the video:
It is true that in countries like Vietnam, where water is not safe to drink, plastic water bottles are the most reliable option. But in western countries there is absolutely no reason why we should continue to rely on purchased water bottles. Many of our habits and patterns are based on convenience. Being more present with our actions can make a big difference in our daily impact on plastic pollution.
Four simple actions you can take to that end
ACTION 1: Buy a few reusable water bottles you love. Then set up a water filtration system for yourself. It could be as basic as a Brita or as sophisticated as one tied into your kitchen faucet. Then make it a habit to bring water with you everywhere you go.
ACTION 2: Have reusable shopping bags in your car at all times and always bring them into any store (not just grocery stores).
ACTION 3: Wash and reuse vegetable bags as often as possible. This can reduce your use of new ones grocery stores have available by a factor of 5, 10 or even 20.
ACTION 4: Buy in bulk and bring your own containers and bags. Many health food stores have bulk options. We are lucky in that we have an amazing bulk food store in Longmont, Colorado, called Simply Bulk. They offer everything under the sun in bulk: grains, cereals, nuts, dog food, soap, detergents, and many, many more items. I am now making it a habit to stop there first before I go to the regular store. That minimizes my convenience habit as I first buy anything I need in bulk in my own containers and plastic bags, before heading to the store for any of the other items I may need.
We must get over our addiction to plastic. This starts with the actions each one of us takes every single day. Because one multiplied by millions will have a positive impact.
2. Reduce Your Water Use
Earth Whisperers know that water is liquid Love and hold it as sacred. Water in our western world seems ubiquitous and plentiful as it rushes out of our faucets. Unfortunately, that convenience masks the ever more dire situation our fresh water supply faces. Humans have polluted, overused and poisoned many of our fresh-water sources. On Earth Day I encourage you to find and watch the movie “Last Call at the Oasis” and inform yourself about the threats to this life-giving substance.
Simple actions you can take to reduce your water consumption.
ACTION 1: Catch the water in the shower while you wait for it to go from cold to hot and use it to water your plants.
ACTION 2: Don’t flush every time you only pee. Wait till the second or even third time and then flush. You could save up to 10 gallons of water that way.
ACTION 3: Set up a rain barrel to catch rainwater. It’s a great way to water your garden. Colorado finally passed legislation that allows each household to set up two 55-gallon drums.
Check your local regulations and then use Earth Day to get them set up.
Learn to treat water as a sacred substance. The first step is to not take it for granted. On Earth Day make the choice to be aware of every drop of water you use, from making your coffee in the morning to brushing your teeth before you go to bed. By doing this you will be able to find ways to reduce or recycle the water you use. When you have the privilege and preciousness of its use, do so filled with gratitude.
3. Connect to the Land Around You
One of the best ways to counteract stress is to put your hands in the dirt. You can literally feel tension and pent up energy seeping out of your feet and hands when you work in the garden or repot an indoor plant. It also helps you quiet the brain and the incessant chattering of our ego-driven thoughts. On this Earth Day, let yourself get quiet and relaxed. Connect deeply with the Earth by planting some vegetables or flowers in your garden or repot an indoor plant that may have gotten foot-bound in its pot. As you do so see if you can start feeling the plants you are working with. How do the feel to you? What are they communicating to you? Open your curiosity to them as you tend to them with tender respect.
Also get to know your area. The edible abundance of the Earth is incredible if you know what to look for. We have gotten shockingly disconnected from our food sources. A 2016 study found that 1 in 5 kids did not know where their food came from. A wonderful activity for Earth Day at home is to pick up a copy of Katrina Blair’s Wild Wisdom of Weeds book (or do some research online) and get to know some edible weeds. Then go out and find a few of these delectables to add to your salad. Dandelion, mallow and purslane have become staples in our smoothies and salads.
Earth Day is a great day to slow down and connect to the life around you. It will be good for your health among other wonderful benefits.
4. Gift the Earth Appreciation, Gratitude and Life
Fear and negativity are one of the worst pollutants to the Earth. One of the most precious gifts you can give the Earth is to have even one barrage of negative thoughts and emotions cease. It turns the volume down for her even just a tiny bit. An even greater gift you can give is to then shift into a beautiful feeing state. If you can touch innocence, joy, appreciation and gratitude and even Life, and send that into the Earth, you will be truly cherished. We created a 13-step process to help people shift their state of being throughout the whole Earth Day. You can find that planner here:
Earth Day can become more than just one day where we remember and celebrate the Earth. Earth Day the Earth Whisperer Way is an opportunity to tune in to the profound connection we have to the Earth, to acknowledge her as a self-aware being that calls for our unconditional Respect, and to start becoming aware of, identifying and changing the habitual patterns every day of our lives. Every step we take towards more conscious actions, every choice we make to reduce the pressure on the Earth and every feeling of appreciation, gratitude and love we can gift her will bring us closer to the new human-Earth accord so urgently needed now.
By Kirsten Liegmann