Giving Back to Gaia

Spring is a time for renewal and that includes our collective effort to help re-new Mother Earth. Earth Day is coming, on April 22nd specifically, and the time to start preparing is now.

There are many things we can all do, both as individuals and as communities, and no matter whether your goals are modest and incremental or life-changingly huge, just the fact that you do something will make all the difference. Surely, as JFK reminded us, our fates are linked, and there is no better way to strengthen that bond than working for the collective good of this wonderful and life-giving planet.

Alicia on “Finding Practical Solutions in the Home”

“Every journey begins with a single step and you can make a huge impact on Earth Day efforts by making some simple changes in your own home. You might start by replacing your incandescent light bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFL’s). Some area’s, like Storrs, Connecticut, are even offering a free exchange; see if any store or community program in your area is doing the same. Or switch to a non-paper shopping bag that you can reuse every time you shop.”

Sarah on “You Aren’t Alone”z,

“Earth Day can be a wonderful opportunity to not only reconnect with your physical environment but with your social one as well. By getting involved with community efforts, you can remind yourself that you aren’t a lone voice in the wilderness; there are many people who are concerned with helping this planet thrive and survive. Not only can this be energizing and life-affirming, but it can teach your children that there is a community of concerned individuals waiting when they are ready to join.”

Here are a few tips to help you in efforts both large and small.

#1 A Penny Saved

A project that the whole family can be involved in without overwhelming everyone is to collect all your change between now and Earth Day and then donate it to a local or national charity devoted to the environment. Set up a large jar in the entryway or family room and that way the collective contribution is visible. This can also be extended beyond your home if anyone wants to take the initiative: at the office(s), volunteer center(s), or in the classroom.

#2 Focus on Your Neighborhood

Often times, the best way to motivate people is to show them direct results. Therefore, join (or organize) an effort to clean up your local area. Having a group meet to go around picking up litter and trash—including things like cigarette butts—and/or a mass recycling effort brings Earth Day home. Finish off the day by picking up at the local park and then having a community picnic. Earth Day can be a fun, shared experience that people will look forward to every year.

#3 Remember That You are Not Alone

If you want to contribute but feel daunted by the challenge, take heart that there are plenty of resources available to you. Just one of many websites we went to was www.worldwildlife.org/earthday2008/tools.cfm, which offers ideas on making a difference from around the country. You can also find the tools necessary to promote the cause such as downloadable flyers, posters and stickers.