This year marks the 42nd anniversary of Earth Day. Every April 22, people around the world get together and host clean ups, have rallys for environmental causes, plant trees and generally try to create awareness for different environmental issues. Every day we see new studies confirming that we’re reaching out carrying capacity and climate change may or may not be reversible at this point.
It’s a bit scary to turn the news on and see another natural disaster (as a result of climate change) or a human-caused disaster such as the cruise ship that sank a few months ago. The Canadian Federal government is willfully ignorant to the fact that cutting environmental funding will not save anyone in the long run. It may save a few dollars in the short term, but the long lasting effects of cutting budgets, cancelling programs and changing long standing environmental legislation will be so detrimental, we probably can’t even fathom it at this point. The climate change deniers are still rampant in society and even on certain news programs and big industry seems to be carrying on with business as usual.
It’s a bit overwhelming, right? I know a lot of people who get depressed at the thought of all this piling up with no end in sight but sometimes the only solution is to keep your head down and focus on what you can change instead of what you can’t. Doing things in your own community can help change your mindset and put things into perspective. Worrying about things you cannot personally change (other than signing petitions and creating awareness) won’t do you any good. It makes more sense to focus on things you can change and once you accomplish those things you start to see a whole world of possibilities.
Personally, I volunteer for a non-profit organization in my community called Friends of One Mile Creek. It’s a small group that focuses on educating the community on the One Mile Creek that runs through our town. We’re dedicated to the revitalizing the creek and bringing it back to what it once was. We have 2 yearly creek clean ups; once for Earth Day and once in the fall along our Lake Ontario shoreline. The clean ups, while small, are great events that provide locals an opportunity to get involved and make a different in their community’s environmental well-being. We generally collect between 10-15 bags of garbage and at the end of the day it’s tangible proof that we’ve made a difference. This year, our clean up is on Saturday April 21, 2012 and we hope to have a great turn out.
So, this Earth Day, instead of feeling down about the state of things you cannot change, partake in a community event and surround yourself with like-minded, caring people. I’m sure it’ll boost your spirits!
For a list of Earth Day events in Canada please visit: Earth Day Canada