Earth Day is officially here and many people will be observing it by joining an Eco clean-up crew or involving themselves in some form of green activity just for the occasion. Recycling and reusing (or re-purposing) became an everyday way of life for me years ago in the hope of setting a good example to those who are younger or a little late in the game of taking up ways to improve the planet rather than deplete or trash it. We certainly still have enough of those who think nothing of littering everywhere they go. This is not just a case of ignorance. Truth is, nobody is quite that ignorant; especially now when these issues are more crucial than ever.
A friend once told me that she wore ‘earth tones’ (meaning so-called earth colors) for Earth Day. I remember being absolutely stunned and also thinking that of all the ignorance in the world this had to be the worst. Most holidays have been treated with the same offhand absent-mindedness- even Christmas- but Earth Day is not necessarily a holiday and was never intended to be so. If anything, establishing this day was intended for people to become more aware of the realities of global warming, ozone layer and water depletion, ecohazards and air pollution etc. The effect these all have on the planet affects plant, human and animal health. If you’ve heard about what’s happening to the bees then you’ll have a good idea of what’s going on because of environmental toxins which humans produce and use in abundance.
My friend apparently assumed that this was just another holiday in her tan and brown outfit with a cream-colored scarf and mittens to match. Her assumptions were not only all wrong but her sense of how our planet works and how we manipulate our own existence didn’t resonate at all, apparently. I didn’t know how to break the news to her without hurting her feelings, perhaps, and so I kept my thoughts to myself. (I’ve always been a deep thinker and my family would agree with this but it took becoming an adult to start sharing those thoughts and ideas with the rest of humanity.) I didn’t argue the point with her but if I could talk to her now I would still have started on her level and pulled her into the deep end of my higher sensibilities.
Let’s talk about those ‘earth tones’. If the color of soil is all you think about the earth then you haven’t looked around much nor have you traveled far from the sandbox where you made mud pies as a child. Go to Ecuador, Costa Rica or Central South America and you’ll see colors like this in most flora and fauna. Many artisans and artists refer to these as jewel tones but I would remind them that jewels come from the earth. Green is far from being the only sign of life- that’s not much different than thinking all humans are white. I hate to be the one to break this to you but we come in all colors and so does the earth and its inhabitants. Take a good look around you sometime in a public place where there are a lot of people. The French say, “Vive la Difference!” and so do I.
Winter has taken up residence in our souls. We need to change our perception of what we believe to be right in certain areas and be open to see what the world displays as wrong or right behavior. The most disturbing behaviors I’ve seen in most recent years is that animals are beginning to imitate human behavior which can be very far from natural or right. Earth Day is a way of coaxing us back to mindfulness of a right or wrong way to treat the planet. It helps to think of the outdoors as an extension of our living room. People treat the outdoors as if it has nothing to do with them but as a matter of fact we are as bound to the outdoors as we are to the furniture in our house. If we treat our world with kindness and caring it will eventually reciprocate.