Celebrating the Earth is something that humans have innately done for centuries. Raise your hand if you have ever gone stargazing, taken a long walk along the beach, hiked to the top of a mountain, jumped into a cool lake on a hot summer’s day. Gone to a Full Moon Party or done a rain dance. You know that calm, euphoric feeling you get just from being out in nature, with no noise but the birds chirping, the trees blowing in the wind, water trickling over the rocks? We are all, on some level, drawn to that, which only makes sense seeing as that is where it all started for us as a species.
Well at the rate we’re going, this is the future (and in many cases, the present) we are facing. The inability to see the stars through the smog and air pollution, dead sea creatures and plastic bottles floating up from the ocean as we stroll along the beach, or oil from yet another oil spill. Warnings not to swim in or drink water from the nearby lakes due to pollution from local factories.
I don’t know about you, but this is not the kind of future I had in mind for our future generations.
HOW YOU CAN HONOR THY EARTH TODAY (AND EVERY DAY)
1 | EAT LESS (OR NO) MEAT
Livestock and their byproducts accounts for 51% of all greenhouse gas emissions, more than all of the cars and trucks in the world combined. The meat and dairy industries are responsible for polluting nearby waterways and the destruction of rain-forests for raising livestock, and require an exorbitant amount of water and resources. In fact, 56% of US water consumption goes to growing feed crops for livestock. 1-2 acres of rainforest are cleared EVERY SECOND, and 91% of that is due to animal agriculture. We are currently in the greatest mass extinction in 65 million years, and most of that is thanks to our reliance on meat and dairy.
Livestock also emit a gas galled methane (aka cow farts) which is calculated to be between 25-100 times more destructive than C02 and has a global warming potential of 86 times that of C02.
Now I know, despite these statistics, some of you find cutting out meat and/or dairy to be the most challenging step to reducing your carbon footprint. Maybe start off with weekly Meatless Mondays and do some experimenting with meat substitutes like tofu, tempeh, and “Beyond Meat” products. There are so many online resources for meat and dairy- free cooking. Some of my favorites are Oh She Glows, Minimalist Baker, and Post Punk Kitchen.
2 | AVOID PLASTIC
I know this is a really tough one. Almost everything we consume comes in some type of packaging, usually plastic. Definitely ditch your water bottle habit, if that is something you still do. Buy a reusable stainless steel bottle like the Klean Kanteen- most public places in the US and Europe have water stations now anyways where you can refill your own bottle.
Bring cloth bags with you to the grocery store to put your fresh produce in, and these EcoBags are great for buying grains, nuts, seeds, etc. from the bulk bins. Do your best to reduce or eliminate packaged foods from your diet, and instead stick to whole, plant-based (and package-free) foods.
3 | SWAP OUT TOXIC HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS FOR GREENER OPTIONS
You may think that as soon as you’re done scrubbing your dishes or putting your clothes through a washing cycle, that that product just dissipates into thin air. But the chemicals in these products contaminate the air in your household, which can contribute to a host of health problems. They are flushed down toilets and drains and make their way into our water systems and pollute those as well. We need to start being more responsible about what kinds of products and ingredients we’re inviting into our homes.
The past decade or so has shown a lot of growth in companies creating cleaner, greener substitutes for products we’ve come to rely on. Companies like Seventh Generation and Meyer’s Clean Day are now found at Target and most other big chain retailers and are thus easily accessible. For you online shoppers, you can find pretty much everything you need from Abe’s Market and Thrive Market.
They now even make eco-friendly, VOC-free house paints. I love the company ethos at Yolo Colorhouse but you can also find similar products at Home Depot and Lowe’s by Benjamin Moore and Behr.
My main point is, do your research before you go buying more household products. There is almost always a greener alternative to what you’ve been using, you just have to find it!
4 | GET OUTSIDE
There’s no better way to cultivate a greater appreciation and respect for the Earth than actually getting out and enjoying nature. No matter where you live, I’m sure there’s somewhere close by that will allow you to get in touch with the great outdoors even if it’s just a park or a riverside trail.
Ever since childhood I’ve felt a very strong connection to the Earth. I have an infinitely better time kayaking in a lake or going for a long hike than I do shopping or partying or whatever it is young folks do this days (just kidding, I do those things too sometimes). These dates I have with Mother Nature are what compels me the most to do my best each and every day to cause as little harm to the Earth as I can.
This is how members of the Ethical Writers Coalition honor thy Earth, on Earth Day and beyond.
I honor the Earth by abstaining from products, materials, and practices that rob it of its precious natural resources, by getting out and enjoying the natural beauty that it has to offer, and by practicing compassion towards all of its creatures.
I honor the earth every single day, by always packing a reusable water bottle, a reusable handkerchief, and a reusable bag in my purse – they are as important as my wallet and keys!
-Alden Wicker, Eco Cult
I honor the earth all year, beyond Earth Day, by being mindful of where my food is sourced, joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share, and educating myself on modern farming practices.
-Emily McLaughlin, Gathering Green
I honor the earth every day by wearing my clothes more than once to save water with fewer washes, and sourcing my food locally whenever possible – even growing my own produce in the summer and fall.
-Stephanie Villano, My Kind Closet
I honor the earth every day by teaching my children the importance of picking up trash and recyclables in on our daily walks around the neighborhood and showing them the value of eating what’s available to them in our own environment (in our case fish from the Gulf of Mexico we catch).
-Danielle Calhoun, Black Sheep Bride
I honor the earth by buying organic and supporting local farmers.
-Annie Zhu, Terumah
I honor the earth every day by teaching my boys to recycle, using what we have instead of always buying something new, and eating locally-grown foods.
-Catherine Harper, Walking With Cake
I honor Mama Earth every day of the year by always being mindful of my actions, asking questions before I purchase, and appreciating the beauty of life.
-Faye Lessler, Sustaining Life
I honor planet earth every day by using a holistic view of health—one that encompasses the health of our minds, bodies, and our collective environment—to shape my thought processes, habits, and consumer choices.
Chayne, Kamea World
I honor our Earth everyday by striving to use products which don’t violate the rights and welfare of our planet’s wildlife.
-Jacalyn Beales, Out Of Wilderness
I honor the earth every day by creating timeless clothing with eco-friendly fabrics that is made in the US.
-Hanna Baror Padilla, Sotela
I honor the earth every day by appreciating everything she has provided us with and by reducing my family’s waste through more conscious shopping practices, when selecting our food and goods -less packaging, less chemicals, less impact.
-Chandra Fox, These Native Goods
I honor the Earth every day by not consuming animal products, walking and taking public transportation, consuming products responsibly and wasting less, and by using my platform as a model to spread my message…The little things that we, as individuals, do everyday all add up to combat climate change. Never underestimate the power of small, daily actions that add up to be a huge reduction in our carbon footprint.
-Renee Peters, Model 4 Green Living
I honour the Earth each day by spending time outside, fully absorbing what’s around me, reducing my impact on the planet and learning to interact with the planet in new ways through planting, growing and nurturing.
I honor the earth everyday by treading lightly on her resources and inhabitants as I practice minimalism, veganism, and use public transportation as much as possible.
-Elizabeth Stilwell, The Note Passer
I honor our one and only earth every day by making old things new again, such as thrifted fashion finds, thereby not encouraging the use of our finite precious natural resources.
-Addie Benson, Old World New
I honor the earth everyday by using plastic-free packaging that is made of recycled and recyclable materials when I ship out new orders of our Made in USA clothing.
-Sara Weinreb, IMBY
I honor the earth every day by taking in as much as information as I can about her resources, climate change, and our role as consumers in the ‘bigger picture’. I promise to never stop asking questions and having conversations, and will always look for alternative consumption practices to relieve the pressure we are placing on our planet.
-Abby Calhoun, A Conscious Consumer
I honor the earth every day by composting and eating vegan. I’ve been vegan for almost 10 years and composting for 5 years. These two activities ground me and make me feel more compassionate, conscientious, and connected to the earth.
-Juhea Kim, Peaceful Dumpling
Quiet moments to watch the sunrise, daily hikes in wild places, conscious and focused appreciation for the abundance of this planet and my connection to it- these are my daily rituals to honor this incredible Earth! I also fold this appreciation and respect into all aspects of my work- whether I am writing and sharing my adventure stories, publishing photos, or consulting on ethical supply chain strategy, I am inspired in my work by the beauty of nature and honor it throughout.
I honor the Earth by loving the people on it and enjoying the beauty of the world with them as grateful stewards.
Dominique, Let’s Be Fair
I show my love for the Earth by talking her up! You can eat vegan, live as minimally as possible, and do your homework when it comes to clothes, but when others know the motivation for your lifestyle choices they can also be inspired to action.
-Kasi Martin, The Peahen
I honour Mama Earth each and every day by being mindful of how my actions and purchases affect her, from my clothing and food to my toothbrush and detergents.
-Holly Rose, Leotie Lovely
How do you honor the Earth? Please let me know in the comments!