Today is Earth Day and so I felt pressured to posts something extra special. But then I got to thinking…why only today? Why is today the only day we publicly care about what we are doing to the planet. It’s a little like only being truely thankful on Thanksgiving. Don’t get me wrong. Earth Day is a great way for organizations to get exposure for their cause. But if it’s all forgotten after tomorrow’s alarm clock, what the point?
I don’t claim to know everything about living an Eco friendly life. I’m still learning and often frustrated that the operating practices for some industries are not more widely realized. Sometimes it feels impossible to live 100% sustainable. Either the products aren’t available or they just aren’t affordable. The fact that it’s easier and cheaper to buy a fast food meal and then just throw away the trash and excess food is genuinely disturbing. We can’t go on this way forever. Not only do we need to educated ourselves about our products, we need to demand that sustainability is the ONLY way.
The average lifestyle in America is based on convenience. We either need to make sustainable living more convenient or change our mindset. This requires more than one day a year devoted to the issue. As parents, we are out of our comfort zone daily with our kids. They test and exhausts us. But why do we still do it? Because they are important. They are flesh and blood and they warm our hearts. I would argue, just like we do for our kids, we need to rise above our own selfish desires and start caring for this planet and ALL of the people living on it. Daily, weekly, monthly.
Like anything else, it’s best to start small. Pick one product or part of your life and find out how to improve how you are currently doing it. Whether it’s changing to cloth diapers, shopping at thrift stores and avoiding fast fashion, or even just utilizing the already established recycling program in your neighborhood. The point is to start. Get educated about where you products come from, what’s in them, who made them and what was the cost to people and the planet.
One important aspect of starting to care about sustainability, is to stop caring what other people think. There is still a very negative stereotype for people who care “too much” about Eco living. It’s ok to recycle or join an organization who feeds the poor. But give up shopping at the mall and buying clothes at a thrift store or through fair trade companies…that’s a little extreme. If your confused, I recommend watching The True Cost on Netflix for a crash course in fast fashion. People will have lots of opinions when you start changing your life for the better. Don’t take it personally. Know you are making positive choices and stand by them. Find other people in your community or online with similar concerns and connect.
My new goal? Make Earth Day just another day of making informed choices and purchases. Make it a point to care everyday how your choices are affecting your children’s future. We won’t always get it right. Some days, we will just plain fail. But don’t let ignorance or convenience be an excuse any longer.