So Earth Day kinda snuck up on me, and I do try and recognize it in some way. For several thousands of years, the Native people of this continent did a pretty good job of being responsible with the earth. But I think we're slipping, big time now. "Taking care of the land" should not be a past value, and I don't think it totally is - yet.
But today, I didn't really do anything because I forgot about it until about noon today. I also got to thinking that every Earth Day I reflect on how I SHOULD be doing more, and down the way not that much happens.
So today I actually reflected on WHY that's usually a fail. And I came up with two pretty obvious reasons:
1) I start too big. Somehow, overnight, I believe I'm going to change all my habits? As utopian as that is... that's a set up for a big fail right there.
2) I'm not really that specific. "Recycle more." "Use less energy." Uh, right. Not ,only is it kind of copping out, there's no accountability, even to myself.
So I've gone over some very small, very realistic changes I know I can make and instead of making them, "change these for the rest of your life" kind of moves, I'm going to commit to them until the end of the summer (Sept. 1.) Then, re-evaluate. My small changes include:
1. Do not purchase DVD's, or physically rent them.
Benefits: Save on packaging, the energy to create the physical DVD, save on gas. I will download any movies I want to rent or purchase, and if it's not available on iTunes... well, I'm SOL. I think it's something I can survive.
2. Do not purchase anything from the grocery store if I'm not using a reusable bag.
I started something like this last year, and even have all the bags, but kept forgetting them, and shrugging it off for a "I'll remember next time." So, for grocery shopping only, if I don't have the bags, I'm not walking in. Benefits: Save on plastic AND paper, landfills not as full.
3. ONLY use environmentally conscious cosmetic brands
I'm halfway to this goal, as the brand I prefer for my basics is pretty much there. But I looked up one of the items I use every day, and... yikes. I checked it on Skin Deep cosmetic database, and holy crap. I'm basically washing my face with toxins... which seems a little self-defeating as well. So only earth-friendly brands. This includes my shampoo, shower gel - the works. Benefits: Not putting freaky hormone-ridden stuff on every day, save on packaging, supporting companies with a green conscious.
4. I will dispose of any medications correctly
I didn't even know this was a problem until I was made aware of how BIG a problem it is recently! Not disposing of medications correctly can mean a lot of things, like danger to yourself or children by accidental poisoning, but it can also (and DOES) get into the water systems, and doesn't come out. This goes into our drinking water, but it can also effect salmon (and other wildlife) populations. You can check out proper disposal here from the State of Utah (hey, they popped up first.) Benefits: Non-poisoned drinking water and oceans, less chance of poisoning.
So that's it. It seems like so little to me, but this year I'm focusing on small changes, and succeeding small, instead of focusing on big, and failing hard.
A few other Native environmental bits:
Here in Anchorage, is was apt timing of the Indigenous People's Global Summit on Climate Change. This APRN audio focuses on the importance of traditional knowledge in the environment discussed at the summit.
A few Native environment sites and organizations:
A Native drum-making business that creates their drums from fallen trees.
The American Indian Environmental Office focuses on "environmental protection in Indian country, with a special emphasis on helping tribes administer their own environmental programs."
Honor the Earth is a Native American environmental advocacy organization.