Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Earth Day Week: Beyond One Day a Year

Earth Day is this Sunday, April 22. It comes every year. In fact, this is the 37th year that an official holiday will be celebrated across our planet. Over the last few years, we’ve seen “green” collide with “mainstream” as tree-hugger-like awareness has given way to an almost hip coolness about doing good for our Earth. While that’s good, there is still an air of shallowness to it all. It is not engrained in our everyday; not a modus operandi, but rather a trend du jour for many of our populous.

Award-winning New York Times columnist, Thomas Friedman, hits the nail on the head (yet again) on this subject with his article from Sunday’s NY Times Magazine article, "The Power of Green". (Full disclosure, I’m a big Thomas Friedman fan.) In a nutshell, Friedman – who is also using this article, I imagine, as a precursor to his Discovery Channel series -- argues that while green has gone "Main Street", the USA still has a way to go if we’re to meet the challenge of global warming. Yet, this challenge is a huge opportunity for our country to once again prove its leadership in the global marketplace and community.

So what does all this mean for our Sakonnet Community? How are we to demonstrate our local leadership to become, as Friedman puts it, "The Greenest Generation"?

We all have a roll to play. As a community we are the sum of its parts – that is each and every citizen, business, and institution. We have an obligation to leave future generations with something better.

Let’s inspire one another. Let’s help each other figure out how to do ONE thing differently that will help our ourselves, our families, and our communities live more sustainably. But let it not start and stop with Earth Day. Let it be something that becomes part of our daily routine, something that IS engrained within us.

What are you doing this Earth Day? What do you want to share with your neighbors? What do you want to pass on to your kids?

If you had to make one change this year to live more sustainably, what would it be? Replace a few incandescent light bulbs with CFLs? Plant a garden or participate in a CSA? Sign up with a renewable energy source program? Buy carbon credits? Commit to supporting local businesses? Ride your bike to the local store?

Post a comment. Send me an email and I’ll get the stories out.

I’d like to put the challenge out there of creating a new local community event for Earth Day 2008. Something to bring our communities together, learn, and walk away with a new inspiration for being part of the solution. Does anyone want to join the cause?

No comments: