Earth Day was Wednesday this year. Last year it fell on Tuesday and the year before on Monday. Next year, it will be a Friday. The day – April 22 – moves according to the calendar just as Earth is moving – every year, every day, and every moment. We live on a dynamic planet. Earth Day 2015 was two days several days ago. As usual, my timing is askew.
We humans share the planet with all other living things – all sorts of plants and animals. We are a dynamic species always evolving, always searching for ways to change our environment to best fit our needs. In doing so we have changed Earth.
Originally, humans wandered from place to place in search of food. Sometimes these early humans were successful and other times not so successful. However, we humans are clever and always searching for a better way and those early humans sought ways to find food much more quickly. We eventually learned that it was much easier to domesticate plants, animals, and learned to farm. So, we made pastures and fields where forests and meadows once were. Once we harnessed our food supply, we used our cleverness to adapt Earth even further.
And, that is how we find ourselves in the mess that Earth is in today.
I use too much water. I create too much carbon. I consume more resources and create more garbage than I should, and I don’t recycle as much as I can.
This week I learned even more and I shared it with my science students. After Spring Break, we began our study of environmental science and they will be constructing their own landfills in the next two weeks testing for methane gas and leachate – the liquid that leaks out of landfills and contaminates the ground water. I also discovered another way I can make a small difference and I shared it with my students and the school. Now, I am paying it forward to you.
I knew I could recycle plastic shopping bags, and I did. But, what I didn’t know was what happened to plastic bags when they were recycled.
Now, I know. I also learned that there is more that I can add to the plastic shopping bag recycling. Below is a poster to help.
Here is the text of an e-mail I got from a student Saturday. It made my day – week – year.
I was in the car thinking about plastic and recycling and I was looking out the window and saw a billboard for TREX plastic wood, what a coincidence! But I’ve been thinking and talking about recycling and what we could do better in my house.
It was a great week. Earth Day morphed into a week of lessons about the human impact on Earth.
This morning, I find myself typing in a Starbucks sipping my favorite’ jump start the day drink,’ a black eye – two shots of espresso added to a cup of coffee – no cream and no sugar. Hot and black.
I am visiting my mom in Sugar Land – a suburb of Houston. It is where I grew up. It was my mom’s birthday yesterday and we celebrated. I surprised her with a visit and called her when I was on the airplane Friday night to warn her I was coming. I saw my two brothers yesterday and surprised them, too. It was a good surprise and a good birthday present for her, and for me, too but really for all of us.
That was yesterday. This morning, I woke up early and the house was quiet; I didn’t want to wake my mom, so I came here to Starbucks for a cup of coffee and Wi-Fi. Today is gonna be a great day. I know it and I can feel it so I’d better jump up, jump in and seize the day before the sun sets and it’s all over. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, one new idea or maybe an old idea rephrased and repeated.
Happy Earth Day, even if it is a day late, it is never too late to begin to make a difference.