Once again, the world acknowledges Mother Earth for one whole day, on Thursday, April 22. Every year I wonder and think, “Why one day, there are 365 days in a year?” Every day is Earth Day in my opinion.
As Pagans, we are always recognizing and celebrating HER, we do not need one specific day. We do so with the changes of the seasons, as Mother Nature grows, dies, and cycles round. Eight sabbats, about six weeks apart, each one pertaining to a different phase, honoring these cycles throughout the year.
At the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair, New Jersey, where I attend, we usually honor the day with some planting of flowers and spring-cleaning inside and out. This will be our second year where we did not due to the pandemic.
Furthermore, many towns and cities have halted their Earth Day celebrations as well. Maybe we should take this time to reevaluate where we are, what we are doing on a daily basis to help keep Her healthy. Sometimes even as Pagans, we forget to do our part.
Last year, as we celebrated 50 years of Earth Day, most of us, if not all, were in government-enforced shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photographs from space then confirmed that the ozone layer was repairing itself and pollution was subsiding. How quickly we all forgot that as local governments lifted restrictions. We need to keep moving forwards not backwards.
Lucky for me, I live in a township that collects all plastic recycling from one through seven. Included in that are milk and juice cartons, boxed soup and shelf stable milk and wine. They accept most paper products such as stationary, magazines, phone books, cereal boxes and unsoiled pizza boxes and cardboard. In addition, shredded papers placed in clear plastic bags.
I do my part and I make sure others do too. Then I drive around town and notice that my house usually has the most recycling. Either we, as a family of three, use more products that are recyclable or people are still too lazy to rinse out that yogurt cup, ice cream carton or take-out container.
I know in a Pagan blog, I am probably preaching to the choir. You are probably nodding along and thinking compost is coming. Yes, one huge heaping pile.
We garden, enjoy the bounty, compost, and repeat. The benefit is revealed in what we receive from our gardens. We know this is important and is second nature to most of us. The question is though, how do we spread this health. We need to plant seeds in the heads of those who do not recycle. Let them know it is rather easy, very little effort and rewarding in the end. We need to break the conspiracy that a compost pile will attract critters and that it smells. The regular trash smells worse than my compost.
Some of us store compostable items all winter in a bin or continue to dig it into the garden area until the ground either freezes or is snow covered. I usually store mine in a used gallon zipper bag until it fills. It takes me less than five minutes to get the shovel, dig, dump the compost and cover it each week.
Tell those who do not yet compost that it is not all that challenging and that these small steps make a difference. Remind them that not only does it cut trash by half; it is not adding to the landfills, and most important it is free fertilizer for gardens. If you are reading this and you are not composting, please start. Either make or purchase a compost bin or do as I do just dig a hole each time. In the spring and summer I separate coffee grinds from the rest of the compost, they are especially great for tomato plants.
Some communities actually have a compost pick-up service where you fill a bucket they provide and drop it off, or if you can get several neighbors to join, they will do local pick up. My township supplies a 32-gallon bucket specifically for vegetative waste. Usually around Earth Day, we can collect a few bags of free compost they supply from the winter leaves collected.
If you know someone who composts, offer your kitchen scraps and/or grass clippings to them. You may ‘earn’ some of their homegrown food or flowers.
We all need to do our part. This includes picking up litter. I was so disappointed last year when I heard people were disposing their personal protective equipment in parking lots, sidewalks and parks. Twice I found a disposable mask on my property. I do not know how people can be so careless. If something accidently falls out of my pocket, I grab it. I do not believe these were accidently dropped but haphazardly tossed out without a care and that just does not register to me. Kids and animals are getting ahold of this potentially contaminated litter.
Animals end up eating trash and sometimes they are unable to digest it; in particularly turtles and seabirds. Scientists discovered inside animals’ stomachs all the debris we carelessly toss out such as bottle caps, paper clips and straws. Pretty much all our little ends up in their bellies.
We need to be mindful of our actions and say something when we see someone litter. Let us do our part and pick up trash when we find it.