Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earthly Possessions

My step son approached me this morning. He informed me that we were out of dog food. Then he asked me, “What are you doing today?”. “As far as what?” I replied. “For the Earth. It’s Earth Day.” he stated with the “obviously” implied.

That was a good question. I thought about it for most of the morning. There are probably more things I should not do as a gesture towards mother Earth. But I think it would be a good idea to do something, even if it’s mostly symbolic. I should have biked to work today or I should break ground on a vegetable garden. We are getting replacement windows. I guess we could call the contractor and give him the official go-ahead today. On a more creative line, we could spend the evening with all lights and appliances turned off, hanging out in candle light. Or I could go out and make a purchase or donation that might have an ripple effect on the greater economic landscape.

I’ve always held on the idea that the best thing one person can do to change the world is to simply take a stand and set an example. Did you notice how the price of gas fell from over $4 last summer down to under $2. That was because I started biking to work. That was my economic influence at work. When I spend money, I like to think about the big picture as much as possible. Money is a powerful force after all. Using it not only gets you stuff, but it exerts influence on the market. It let’s the beast know what people want, were they want it, and how to make it. Buying things that are organic, eco-friendly, or recycled can have a modest but real impact on the production of these things as the market counteracts to it.

So, here’s my plan for Earth Day. After baseball practice, we're going to Target to buy dog food. On top of that, we are each going to buy one item that will let the market know that we care about the environment, in hopes that it moves more in that direction. Perhaps a box of high efficiency light bulbs, an article of the new limited edition Loomstate organic cotton apparel, thermal lined roman shades, some organically branded food or drink, planting seeds, a rain collection contraption, but above all we are not going to accept a plastic bag to them home in.

Loomstate organic cotton pocket tee, made for Target

On top of that, I’m going to buy something from the thrift shop today, and further along the recycled items line, we’ll spend some time making a bird feeder or wind chime out of a plastic bottle and other would-be trash. (The kid has been bugging me about doing that for a few days. Going so far as to warm up to the idea of cancelling cable if it means more home made craft projects.) Regardless of the limited significance of these actions, they should prove to be a memorable and worthwhile gesture. Showing the kid and the Earth (and in some way, the dogs) that they are important to me.

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