The Ins and Outs of an Ordinary Life

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Earth Day

Sunday was Earth Day. In my part of the universe, it was truly a beautiful day, a PERFECT day on Planet Earth. I celebrated with a 20 mile club bike ride with a dozen club members that went over the Croton Dam and around the reservoir. The daffodils are out, the trees are starting to bloom, and the birds and frogs are singing. Everyone was thrilled to put their butts on a saddle and finally get out there! Great ride. In the late afternoon, I decided to go for a run, so I went over to the high school track and ran 1.5 miles. My legs felt a little weary but it was all good. And my knee was 100%, so I can bump my mileage up another quarter mile!

There was one thing that annoyed me. There were about 5 or 6 youth league lacrosse teams practicing, so about 70 kids and assorted parents and coaches. The field, track and bleachers were littered with garbage, water bottles, and assorted items that I'm sure were left behind. This wasn't even about recycling or picking up somebody else's garbage or other environmental Earth Day type issues, it was about cleaning up after yourself. It's even worse when the parents and coaches aren't teaching their kids to clean up, but on Earth Day it was really triple annoying.
Perhaps my "green" sensitivity has been heightened because I am reading Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. I'm not sure why I decided to read it, and I'm also not sure why I never got to it before this week (it was published in 1962). I have since discovered that May 27 will be Carson's 100th birthday, and there will be celebrations and events in her honor. Sadly, she died of breast cancer about 18 months after the book was published, at the age of 56.

One of my reasons for choosing a vegetarian lifestyle is because it does reduce exposure to toxins from insectisides and pesticides (which become more concentrated as you move up the food chain). I also belong to an organic food coop for the same reason. Reading Silent Spring has made me realize that the issue is much bigger than that, all these chemicals are in the groundwater and the soil. Basically you can run but you cannot hide. I don't want to get on a soapbox here-- not my style. It's more a personal decision about taking care of myself and my family. I guess you could say that my decision to be a vegetarian is rather selfish! But this last week I've just found myself thinking about how fragile the planet is, and how I wish everyone would be a little bit more responsible about taking care of Earth.


Flo said...

I agree with a lot you say. We humans do a lot of stupid stuff to the planet. Here in Hawaii we are testing soil and ground water for pesticides for pineapples used literaly 100 years ago. That's insane!!!

I don't agree that the planet is fragile. It's the humans that are fragile. We could eventually wipe ourselves out, but the earth will recover and heal. This place has been here for a long time and has gone through unbelievable changes. We won't kill the planet, we are not that powerful. We'll just kill ourselves.

Laurie said...

I don't think being a vegetarian is selfish. I think it is a huge sacrifice that we have to make. It is not easy to 'be different' and take a stand for what we believe in. I also think it is better for the environment to eat less or no meat. Your reasons may seem selfish on the surface but they serve the greater good.