This year marks the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day!
Earth Day 1970 gave voice to the emerging public consciousness about the state of our planet. It seemed at that time that there was little public consciousness of how our consumption impacted our health and our environment. We were still using leaded fuel and pollution from industry was almost entirely unregulated.
We have taken some strides since then, but our times calls us to do SO much more as individuals and as a community. There has been a great deal of discussion regarding how Covid-19 has arisen out of our lack of respect for the natural world. I invite you to read this article published in The Nation entitled The Other Pandemic: Habitat Destruction.
Waldorf Education aims, at its heart, to connect the growing child with the natural world. Our curriculum and our field trips instill a sense of reverence and respect for nature. We very consciously connect the child to living pictures of nature. For the younger child those pictures are full of beauty and goodness. Children must know what is good before they can study the major crisis of our time. Our high schoolers are then well equipped to dive into meaningful discussions about climate change and GMO agriculture.
Given these strong values, we want to celebrate this momentous day as a community. We can only do what we can do as families now sheltering in place. Since we are spending our time at home, ordering more items via mail, not to mention take-out, I want to offer you a few simple goals, ideas, and inspirations for being more conscious of our consumption, in particular our trash consumption. This year the EU is working on passing laws that regulate industry that produces items that cannot be recycled or reused.
Simply by taking a good look at the Recology’s recycling and composting guidelines, my family was able to reduce our amount of trash by 60%. I was beyond delight when I realized I could recycle so much more plastic than I thought possible (plastic bags, molded plastic packaging, and old CD’s). Did you know we can recycle fabric, including old, tattered clothing? Ultimately, recycling is still just one small step towards a more environmentally conscious lifestyle. Not all plastics can be broken down and much of our recycling still finds its way to undeveloped countries, or worse, our oceans. What is best is to find ways to avoid purchasing items that are wasteful altogether.
We have a long way to go in our country, but each individual can make a difference. Here is a short video of Lauren Singer, who inspired me to rethink many of my choices. I also recommend reading “Zero-Waste Lifestyle: Live Well by Throwing Away Less” by Amy Korst.
I encourage you all to find inspiration and delight in these seemingly small actions. It is all we can do right now, but together as a community it will continue to further our values and to make a difference for the future.