Photo by Kristy Rammel
I once read Earth Day (April 22) was celebrated in nearly 200 countries by almost a billion people, yet it seems to vary in its significance to each individual. Political differences, recycling and environmental issues are a few of the topics individuals and organizations will try to bring to the foreground this week. Today, I’m going to share my own view of this worldwide observance.
It’s an unfortunate fact that we will probably leave our children and grandchildren in deep national debt. It’s further apparent we will leave this planet dirtier than the way we inherited it. So, you ask, where I am heading with this as I attempt to ascend my preverbal soap box? Well, it’s simple. While I might not be able to make their future planet a clean harmonious Eden, I’m part of a group that recognizes these shortcomings and has vowed to implement change—but change takes time.
You, too, are likely part of this group. With every compost pile we make, we teach about recycling. With every green crop we grow, we are repairing just a little bit of the damage we’ve done to the Earth. With every civilized political debate we engage in, we’re training the little ears in the art of communicating, that there is merit in opposing views and that passion does not have to involve violence.
I’m three generations removed from a homesteading/farming lifestyle. My grandmother (pictured above) grew up on a dairy farm but lived her adult life an urbanite. This, in turn, led to my own parents living and raising their family in the city. It wasn’t until my mid 30s that I attempted to return to the lifestyle my grandmother lived 70 years ago.
For me, Earth Day is about bridging the gap between my generation and my grandmother’s. It’s about learning from her infinite hands-on experiences, stories and how-to’s. It is about my children seeing the similarities and differences between their country life and their great-grandmother’s.
Our generation can read about ways to save money during a depression, or we can reach out to those that actually did it. We can research how to reduce waste, or we can talk to the folks that never wasted anything. The best part of Earth Day should not involve trying to educate one another; it should be about learning from the people that have actually lived on it the longest and then passing that knowledge on.
The picture above is one I have envisioned for many years. My grandmother has not held a baby chick since her days as a little girl in pig-tails. Once that chick was placed in her hands, it did not take much for that little girl to shine right through, past the gray hair and wrinkles. When the little bird pooped on her top, I was mortified and started to apologize and remove the chick in order to clean my grandmother off. Slapping my hand away, she replied, “Oh, it’s just a little poo, that’s all,” and proceeded to baby talk to the chick!
This Earth Day, I’ll be teaching my kids these six points:
- Change takes time.
- Planting something green can lift sprits, as well as adding something back to this earth we once took away.
- There is a team that will lose in order for there to be a team that will win. It just means the winners played a better game this time.
- In order to teach, we must learn; but in order to learn, we must listen.
- Elderly does not mean ignorant. Quite the contrary, life experiences told in first person can be very informative.
- And finally, we can’t always let a little poo keep us from doing what we enjoy. We need to either wipe it away or ignore it completely move right along.
To my GG for teaching us to love the dirt!