What Earth Day means to me

Earth Day 2013 (iStock23733018)Earth Day is celebrated around the world on April 22.  The first Earth Day was held in the United States in 1970 and was organized by Senator Gaylord Nelson.  The first Canadian Earth Day was celebrated in 1980, and in 1990 Earth Day Canada was founded.

The HaltonRecycles team share their thoughts on what Earth Day means to them:

LindsayEarth Day is a day to celebrate our beautiful planet and promote why leading an environmentally friendly lifestyle is so important. Canada is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and we are surrounded by countless natural wonders; some of which have been damaged due to environmental negligence. Earth Day is a day to educate others on small, yet effective changes that we can make in our everyday lives to reduce our environmental impact, and bring awareness to current environmental issues. “Knowledge is power,” and Earth Day is a great time to increase our knowledge and make a change!

NicoleWhat does Earth Day mean to me? Well its one day; or potentially a week, of celebrating the Earth, and all the ways we can preserve and admire its beauty.  It’s the one time of year where schools, businesses and organizations publicly discuss ways they will help save the planet — I guess for me, I wish it wasn’t just one day.  Although I do see the benefit of opening people’s minds, and providing opportunities for people to participate in programs and discussions, I hope that on this one day, we are speaking to them in such a way that they decide to change their lifestyles forever.  Awareness is key to help change behaviour.  However, changing your behaviours for one day isn’t enough to help preserve our environment. I believe we need to make people aware of our changing environment more regularly, and have opportunities for people to help and participate more regularly. Hopefully then, Earth day will turn into something we that carries on throughout the year.

ShirleyEarth Day is an opportunity to recognize all the amazing natural spaces on earth and why it is important to protect them. The earth sustains life and we need to remember to tread lightly.

Allison: I have been celebrating April 22 for 25 years, mainly because it’s my birthday (or should I say, b”earth”day) but also because I love everything about the environment. As a child, this day was always fun-filled with friends, games, presents and Mom’s traditional birthday “Dirt Cake.” Every year, I make a conscious effort to celebrate Earth Day/my birthday by getting outside with my family and friends. Whether we’re hiking, or playing a game of disc golf, I think it’s important to be outside with nature on April 22. Earth Day to me, is a day to reflect on your impact on the environment and create new ways to reduce your footprint, one step at a time.

EarthDayParkJohn: Last summer I presented at Wastecon in Washington DC.  During my explorations of the city, I stumbled upon Earth Day Park.  To be honest, it wasn’t particularly impressive — just a small park with trees and benches, tucked in among the plethora of government buildings.  But I think that’s why I liked it so much — to a hectic world, this hint of nature is a reminder that there’s an environment that needs to be explored, conserved and enjoyed.  And while every day is Earth Day, having one particular day a year serves as a reminder that we are part of the environment and we need to celebrate, honour and respect this connection.

Stacey: Earth Day is usually family time spent with my husband and kids cleaning up our local park along with the route to the park.  We usually do a cleanup on our daily walks with the dogs, but this is an opportunity to really take the time to check the roadside, bushes and park area.  It is always amazing how much we collect.  It is great to see all the neighbours out and about taking the time as well to participate.  This is a time for my kids to learn that actions can affect the environment and that we all need to take the time to help the earth from recycling to clean ups.  Take the time today to give the Earth a hug and do a spring clean up!

Ben: If I can raise awareness of the environment for my kids by spending Earth Day enjoying the outdoors with them and having my family experience what I’ve grown up cherishing, then that’s what I think is the most important thing we need to take from Earth Day.  If we can preserve that connection with nature for future generations then our planet has a bright and healthy future.

JoyceEarth Day provides a day to acknowledge the impacts of human behaviour on the natural environment.  It also gives us an opportunity to reflect on what Christopher Stone famously wrote in his essay, Should Trees Have Standing?

AndreaI have long been a supporter of the Earth — I knew I wanted to help save it by the time I was in high school. That was a while ago and environmental conservation was definitely not in the forefront of society’s priorities, we had no “green” clubs or environmental education classes — the closest we came to that was geography, and of course the one day a year that people did actually think about it — Earth Day.  Environmental awareness is definitely making headway by leaps and bounds and that makes me happy. I’m pleased to see that a larger portion of society has become environmentally conscious on a daily basis, which is a combination of the younger generation bringing that preservation passion with them as they climb the corporate ladder, as well as people finally realizing there is no other choice. To me, Earth Day represents a day of environmental education, a day people come together to help clean up the messes of the year, and a day that attempts to get the non-conformists to conform and hop on the “green” bandwagon, because really who better to save the planet than those that destroyed it in the first place.

Walter: Earth Day did not register with me until perhaps the early 1990s. That was over two decades after it was originated in 1970. Within that span of time the public hearings for the Halton Waste Management Site were taking place and these were eventually followed by a green light to build, by 1992, what is currently Halton’s only operating landfill. How could I have known when I went off to university in the early 1990s that there were engineers and construction crews carving up a piece of old farm land to make the landfill I work at today in Milton? As I studied to get knowledge that would turn out to actually be useful and applicable there, I do not recall any sirens going off that told me to keep going, stay the course, we need you. The path from learning about the environment and working to preserve it was not a straight line, but I am here now and that is all that matters. As a student, almost every time April 22 came around I was either cramming for or writing an exam, else I was packing up my belongings and loading them into an old rusty car, moving to my next adventure, either another co-op job, or back to school for more of the same. It wasn’t that simple to take time out for Earth Day, at least for me it wasn’t. Entering the workforce did not make it any easier either. Most places I worked at didn’t seem to make a special effort to acknowledge Earth Day, but I did hear about it on the news a lot. There was always a sense of being disconnected from it though. Like there were these other people, out there, doing good, making a difference. I imagined them as faceless do-gooders, toiling away at non-glamourous jobs, sometimes just spokes in a wheel doing their little, but important part in contributing to a positive change. I suppose now I have finally come to the point where I don’t need to imagine what these people look like any longer. I see them everyday I go in to work and every time I look at myself in the mirror. There we are (in varying degrees of glamourousness), still working, still hoping to make a difference for our planet, on this Earth Day and (with hard work) everyday. Now, does that sound like a siren going off? Probably not. But, if you are out there reading this, struggling to find meaning in your earth friendly studies, please hear this: Keep Going. Stay The Course. We Need You. You may not realize it, but we are waiting for your help. We can’t do it all alone and we’re all in this together. Hope you have a glamourous and green Earth Day everyone.

About HaltonRecycles

Encouraging the 3Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle – for all residents, schools and businesses in Halton Region, Ontario, Canada. By recycling and composting more, we help extend the life of Halton's landfill, protecting the environment.
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6 Responses to What Earth Day means to me

  1. Pingback: Milton Ontario - Earth day | Halton Container Dumpster Rentals

  2. Janie Mclean says:

    The Earth Day Network was founded in 1993 with a goal of creating an international network dedicated to supporting grassroots Earth Day organizing. Earth Day New York and San Diego Earth Day kept the fledgling entity going for a number of years but ultimately invited Denis Hayes to become chairman of the organization in time for Earth Day 2000. Under Denis’ leadership the Network organized the world-wide events for the 30th Anniversary and has grown into an established Washington, DC-based organization that promotes environmental activism and year-round progressive action, domestically and internationally. Earth Day Network members include NGOs, quasi-governmental agencies, local governments, activists, and others. Earth Day Network members focus on environmental education; local, national, and global policies; public environmental campaigns; and organizing national and local earth day events to promote activism and environmental protection. The international network reaches more than 25,000 organizations in 192 countries, while the domestic program engages 10,000 groups and more than 100,000 educators coordinating millions of community development and environmental-protection activities throughout the year.

  3. Pingback: Think.Eat.Save – World Environment Day 2013 | HaltonRecycles

  4. Nicole says:

    Earth day is more than what you think it is…..so go outside help your family and clean up that’s your part

  5. Pingback: Celebrate Earth Day, today and every day | Dawn's Food For Thought

  6. Pingback: Top 10 blogs about recycling and waste | HaltonRecycles

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