Earth Day is Every Day

Yesterday, as Silverwing and Willow were getting ready for school, I asked them what their school was doing for Earth Day. They weren't sure was I was talking about, and when I began to explain the concept of Earth Day to them, Silverwing quickly had the idea that she and a friend could pick up litter on the school grounds ... "it's okay," she commented, "she knows what I am."
I had to laugh, before telling them that Earth Day was not just a Pagan observance, but one that belonged to everyone.
Right now, I'm not sure if it's a good thing that they didn't distinguish Earth Day from any other, or a bad thing.
You see, around our house, we do try to live Earth Day as every day. Recycling, composting, "living green" ~ all of these are concepts that we practice in our day-to-day lives.
I know quite a few people, some members of my family included, who claim they don't have the time, or the space, or the energy to recycle or compost or leave the Earth is just a little bit better shape than it was when they came here. I don't buy this argument ... I've been composting and recycling for about 10 years now. Sure, I'm a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) now, but I worked full-time before getting married. Nothing has changed, except where I do my recycling and composting.
It amazes me how much garbage most families throw away. Even Oak teases me sometimes, about the things I recycle and save. But recycling serves a lot of purpose ... it keeps the garbage dumps from overflowing, it saves money, and it teaches the values of economy and environmentalism to our daughters.
What do we recycle and compost? As much as I can get my hands on. Milk and coffee creamer cartons make great plant starters, as do egg cartons and even egg shells (crack the eggs toward the narrow top end for the most success).
Liquid laundry containers, well-washed, can be used as containers for sunflowers ... I used to grow these on a cement patio when I lived and worked in the city. The containers are large enough to hold the roots, and help conserve water.
Almost anything that will hold soil and water can be reused as a container. Even soup cans can be used. If you don't use them as plant containers, they can be used as candle molds. Tuna cans also make great candle molds for small, flat candles.
Newspaper can be kept out of the landfills, either through recycling centers, or by making homemade paper. Mix in bits of dried herbs, flower petals and even tiny bits of thread or embroidery floss, and you have wonderfully unique paper.
Our compost pile is well-fed almost every day, with coffee grounds, egg shells (those I don't use as planting containers), scrapings from food plates and the pots or pans the food was prepared in, and more. The only thing I don't throw in the compost are meat scraps and bones, because the dogs and cats usually get these, and because they attract rodents and take so long to decompose.
Candle scraps get recycled as well; we save them in large glass jars (also leftovers), until we have enough to make candles with. The string from dog food and cat food bags can be used to make candle wicking.
Other bits of string, as well as dryer lint, makes a great offering for the birds to build nests with. As a matter of "family ritual," our daughters take out their Easter basket grass every year to decorate the trees, so the birds can have more colorful nests.
Why do we do all of this? Because I believe it is important to take care of the Earth, and because we want our daughters to understand this concept as well.
Living "Earth-friendly" doesn't cost you anything ... if anything, it saves you money. It doesn't take that much time, once you get into the routine. But the pay-offs are enormous, both in terms of the environment and in terms of the values you can pass on to your children.
So, what are you doing for Mother Earth today?

Amberflame ~ 4/23/99


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