The Ponder Effect | How do you celebrate the Earth?
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How do you celebrate the Earth?

One New Year’s when I was a girl, I made an unusual resolution. It was to hug a tree every day. Not just any tree but one tree in particular that stood near our patio with its soft, smooth bark and tall, tall trunk. I had never heard the word “tree-hugger” and my choice certainly wasn’t any kind of political stand. It was a response to something I felt deeply but couldn’t articulate verbally. It was that I wanted to thank the tree and be close to it, showing it my love and respect and appreciation. I wanted to befriend it and probably also protect it in some way.

My infatuation with trees has continued. So, too, has my love for nature. And yet I don’t make a daily practice of celebrating the earth with all its treasures. If I am honest with myself, I recognize that instead I make a daily practice of destroying the earth with all its treasures. I don’t know about you, but I get turned off by the politicization of environmental issues and overwhelmed by the challenges surrounding sustainability. Admittedly I am reluctant to make substantive lifestyle changes. As with so many big things, though, we are not wrong to start small.

This week, starting today on what is officially Earth Day, how can we celebrate the Earth and how can we strive to protect it? What are the ways you show your reverence for the Earth, and what are the ways you exercise your responsibility to preserve it?

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2 Ponderings
  • Anonymous

    April 22, 2018 at 6:21 pm

    I celebrate it by trying to notice it. I really like the quote by Alice Walker from The Color Purple, “I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.”. I try to take in its beauty, in the different seasons, the times of day, the colors of the sky, shapes of clouds, sunsets, sunrises, the trees, all that is in bloom, the moon phases… the stars. Even the smells of rain or soil. It’s is endless and spectacular.

  • Anonymous

    April 23, 2018 at 11:26 am

    I grew up on a farm and, as a kid, felt close to the earth because its seasons and yields measured my days. My dad worked to conserve water and soil. He cared for the land lovingly, perhaps even more lovingly than I would say he even cared for his family.

    And yet … I am a modern gal with a freshly built house, driving a regular car and consuming, consuming, consuming. I can barely read stories about polar bears’ habitats slipping away due to global warming. I feel so complicit, and yet, also, so powerless. I do make small choices, though, when I can, that may help – using as little plastic as I can, funding the Southern Environmental Law Center (seriously SUCH an amazing, non-political defender of our region’s natural resources!!), and choosing to eat as locally as I can (harder in winter). I’ve sort of stopped eating fish, as much as I enjoy it, because of overfishing and issues with plastics in the ocean. I don’t eat farmed fish, either.

    I don’t know if these add up to celebrating the earth as much as, say, hiking up a glorious mountainside would, but I guess they just make me feel a tiny bit better about myself. One of the biggest and best things I believe we can do is to pass along a sort of reverence for the earth to our children. We went on a big road trip a couple of summers ago, and it was so interesting how often my husband and I spoke to the kids about conserving the gorgeous landscapes we experienced along the way. They were 8, 5 and 4 at the time, and the reverence we all felt for the earth then is still called upon today. Later that summer, when I asked my son whether he liked a well-developed beach area better than Canada, or vice versa, I was surprised that he chose Canada … but of course, children are so often wiser than we give them credit for. The National Parks also do an incredible job of teaching both adults and kids about conservation and the importance of a balanced ecosystem, and I’m grateful for their educational programming. If I were going to get more involved politically in conservation practices, I would encourage the government to increase funding to the Parks because they celebrate and protect our little corner of the earth so well.