Prior to becoming a Senator, Gaylord Nelson was Governor of Wisconsin. He was a lawyer--that's what he went to school for anyway--and that background helped him to jumpstart his political career, but it also helped Senator Nelson build a legal foundation for raising awareness about the environment to the general populace.
Part of Senator Nelson's concerns was dealing with a growing population in the U.S. With more people, comes more garbage--more smoke, more pollutants, more everything. He wanted to legislate immigration practices in the 1960's. I wonder what he would have to say about that today. Senator Nelson passed away on July 3. 2005.
One of his best quotes was about industry and the environment: "The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment, not the other way around."
I like this saying because it gets right to the heart of our environmental problem. We choose to ignore the environment when it means money...actually, that's a fairly human trait--it's called GREED. Greed stems from the "will to power" or ambition I wrote about in my entry on L-O-V-E. Unless we acknowledge that part of ourselves, we will never be able to solve the world's problems--including the plethora of environmental concerns that have sadly GROWN since the first Earth Day...40 years ago.
So think of Senator Nelson today; remember the work he did to make our planet a better place, a cleaner place, a healthier place. Everyone is only human, and Senator Nelson was undoubtedly far from perfect--but the point today is to remember that one person can make a difference. There were 20 million people in attendance at the first Earth Day celebration. And though we have a long way to go before we claim responsibility for our planet as a global community, there are many, many individuals working toward that goal. You may be one of them.
For me, my love of nature began with rocks...I collected them my whole life. It's true. And there's this amazing peace I can only acheive when surrounded by trees or letting wild waves lap at my cheeks in the ocean. There's a nature trail near my home; I walk it almost everyday--even in winter. I've seen amazing wildlife there--things most people will ever only see in zoos. So when I make a purchase--even something as simple as a T-shirt, I look for organic cotton or bamboo. When I have to go out to do errands, I plan my errands for a single day in a single direction--so I'm not constantly getting in my car and going to the bank or grocery store. I recycle...everything. And I support local farmers by buying produce at farmer's markets. When I do buy food products in plastic packaging, I look for companies that use Terracycle--a method of reuse and repurposing that makes things like shower curtains, umbrellas and tote bags. And yes, I'm one of those people who carry an unreasonable number of reusable bags in the back of my car for things like groceries--or any other shopping excursion. Before I became disabled, we grew our own organic vegetables--and this was long before "organic" came into fashion. I've also been a vegetarian for over 16 years. One of my favorite "green" organizations is 4-H. I worked with a local 4-H group helping with a summer camp that gives ALL children the opportunity to experience the outdoors and learn more about the environment. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Sometimes we put our energies into things we later regret--but when you live with the Earth in mind--you'll never have that negative experience...it's ALWAYS the RIGHT decision.
While Earth Day is a nice reminder about being conscious of the environment, we all need to remember that Earth Day is really a year-round "holiday." I want my grandchildren to be able to run through a forest, to find peace in the ocean--and I want yours to do the same. Whether your contribution is big or small, be mindful about our Earth when you make your choices...and not just consumer-driven ones, think about taking a job where you can work from home a few days a week--it not only saves on pollutants, it helps you maintain a better. Try to not use your car at all at least one day a week. Instead of buying the new iPad, try buying a canoe. Reconnect with nature. You won't be sorry.
Until next time, dear readers....
PS: To learn more about 4-H, see http://www.4-H.org