So it’s Earth Day and we’re all inside. Unless you’re in Georgia, then you’re probably getting your haircut. This year is a little different from other Earth Days, isn’t it? While it’s easy to focus on the negative right now, an unforeseen consequence of the pandemic is people are driving less, have a new found appreciation for wanting to be outside, and are starting to garden. All in all, doesn’t sound too bad, does it? While the effects of the pandemic might not last for the environment, given long enough some individuals might form positive habits from being forced inside. This year, I wanted to take some time to discuss some of my personal habits and what makes me feel good.
I’ve always been inclined to walk. When I lived in Corvallis, I either walked or rode my bike to class, I never drove. If I needed a car, I’d carpool. It was a simple, elegant lifestyle. Corvallis was the perfect town for college. Public transit was also free but I only ever took the bus a handful of times, opting in most situations to walk. Towards the end of my senior year, I was running almost every day. It was great.
In Corvallis, I rarely ate out, which was a huge transition for me. Freshman year I went from eating out almost every day to kneading bread and crafting quiche by my Junior year. I learned to compost and use energy efficient bulbs and shower heads. I took sustainability courses and environmental economics.
And now I have Pokemon Go and an electric bike! I made a decision early on to not drive and opt for public transit when I moved back to Portland. I drove for a bit but ultimately stopped when it came to the economics of it all. I could buy a car for a couple thousand and then make car payments on top of that, or I could by a fold-able bike with a motor and a basket for around $2000. Now that I have plenty of time on my hands, I plan to be using my bike a lot more.
My primary hobby before the plague was learning to ferment food. To date I’ve made miso paste, hard cider, bitters, and sauerkraut. A DIY project was to make soap. I opted for an oatmeal textured, grapefruit scented soap. From the consumer end, I’ve been trying to find creative uses for cardboard and when I make purchases, making an effort to purchase all at once rather than a thousand different packages with one item each.
The next task is DIY projects and gardening. We are a wasteful society and I want to make positive change. If I can’t recycle plastic, I can at the very least learn how to re-purpose it so it doesn’t end up in some foreign country America has deemed its landfill (or create a completely new continent…).
And it wouldn’t be Earth Day without a call to action, would it? I spent the majority of the article talking about individual actions that I’ve done and that have made me feel good; in a perfect world, this would be enough. But, we do not live in a perfect world. In the 70’s corporations shifted responsibility away from themselves and led effective marketing campaigns to convince the consumer that the environment was their obligation and they should be good stewards. I can’t disagree with this. What I can disagree with is many companies have absolved themselves of responsibility and pollute as much as they can get away with. This needs to end. My recommendation is start with an education. Watch “Broken” and “Rotten” on Netflix, learn about supply chains. If you’re a student, consider sustainability courses and even down the road, a degree in sustainability (eventually I want to get my Masters in the subject). When you can argue beyond a doubt for the environment, that’s when people will listen and change can happen. Then, share your message. Start with friends, then governors, and then, perhaps one day, with corporations themselves. Profit shouldn’t be the bottom line, our health and the health of the environment should be. Happy Earth Day!
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I’ll also be trying something new this post! I’ve picked a cause and I’d recommend donating to them! The Ocean Cleanup is an Organization I’ve admired for a while now and their whole mission is to make the oceans a bit cleaner. Below is their link:
I’ll be working on ways to improve donations and fundraisers on this site in the future as I’d love to integrate social change causes in the day-to-day of the blog as the site continues to grow and expand. For now, expect to see the occasional donation link but who knows what the future might hold! As always, I’d love to hear your feedback.
And it’s been a while since I’ve done a prompt, so here we go! What are you doing this Earth Day to make an impact? What is something unique or that you’re proud of that you do to have a positive impact on our environment? Looking forward to your responses!