Having been active in the recycling industry for more than a decade I applaud the efforts of many to live “green” or give back something to the Earth on this celebrated day, but is one day really enough?
Holiday decorations go on sale three months before the actual day. We work five days a week, 52 weeks a year. We eat, drive, sleep and live the life of a consumer 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, for every year that we are on this Earth. I guess what I am getting at is that for us to become good stewards of this planet we live on, Earth Day should become a lifestyle, not just a brief snippet in time when we actually think about doing some good, giving something back, or paying something forward just so we can feel good as we drive away in our SUV drinking a water out of a plastic bottle. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating giving up the comforts we have come to expect, but merely making every day a celebration of Earth Day.
Maybe it is become I am getting older and my newborn son is about to turn 5, but I am starting more and more to look at how we live our lives as a family. It is also about something that my young son said to me this past week as we were driving into St. Louis from Illinois that sparked this post. For those of you unfamiliar with the route you come around a long turn on the highway and you are greeted by the Gateway Arch – he used to say as soon as we saw it that we were home – this trip was different. As we made the turn he said that he could not see the Arch that well this trip as there was a big hill in the way. The hill is not so much a hill but a large-scale garbage dump and landfill that reeks of methane gas – not exactly the welcome to a great city the tourism bureau wants to promote. He then said if it gets any higher he won’t be able to see the arch the next time we drive into the city…I began to think.
The next time we toss a bottle in the trash or say that its too difficult to recycle, what if we pictured the perfect view in our minds – we all have one that we visit while daydreaming or taking a break from reality – what if we couldn’t see it anymore because someone put a big pile of trash in front of it? On Earth Day 2011 I encourage all to get involved but ask yourself if you are doing enough, and could you do just a little bit more so that the next generation doesn’t have to clean up our mess.