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Hating Earth Day

I have come to realize that I am an environmentalist who hates Earth Day. I love the concept, so how could I possibly hate it?

First, Earth Day, which is Tuesday, represents the opportunity to reflect upon day-to-day practices and routines and make changes that will affect our earth positively.

Seldom, however, is that what happens. Instead, it becomes a day to repent for our sins against Mother Nature and to feel cleansed somehow for recognizing we have done her wrong.



Obviously, the second step has been forgotten – making changes in our habits for good, so that on the next Earth Day we could celebrate a positive and healthy relationship with the planet, not feel guilty again for having made all the same mistakes.

Second, people seem to use Earth Day as a time to lambaste and chastise others for the poor state of the environment. Perhaps what we should be doing is looking at ourselves and identifying ways to change what has gone wrong. No good comes from focusing on the negative, unless you can identify how to fix the problem.



I will not go into a tirade of listing changes we should all make. What would be the point? We either choose as individuals to make changes or we do not. No amount of preaching is going to make a person an environmentalist. At some point, you wake up and see what is happening around you and you make changes – or you don’t.

Third, I have grown tired of the doomsdayers climbing out of their holes this time of year to tell us how bad off we all are. I realize these individuals serve an important role – to bring to the surface information that might otherwise be missed.

My complaint with the doomsday approach is it makes many people feel that the destruction of our world is inevitable. Why bother to make changes? I disagree. Changes still make a difference.

So, I fear I may get preachy here, but bear with me (this is my solution section).

First, each of us needs to spend more time appreciating our surroundings. Then, we need to identify just one change that can be made, and make it. Once we feel comfortable with that change, we choose another – and on and on.

I am not unrealistic to think every change is going to be easy, but what is that statistic – something like “It takes 21 days to change a habit?” If that is true, we just have to stick with it for three weeks and voila – a positive change is made.

The truth is that I don’t hate Earth Day. I hate what it has become. All that I can say is: Prove me wrong, identify your misdoings and vow to change them – and keep the vow.

Holly Kingsley is the education coordinator for Summit Recycling Project, the nonprofit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to minimizing waste in Summit County and surrounding areas.


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