On Sunday, I joined in for the April #1000 Speak for Compassion Blogger Link up. The movement aims to flood the Internet with GOOD once a month and this month everyone was talking about nurturing.
Many posts focussed on the need to nurture our planet in the lead up to Earth Day.
This one specifically from Her Headache made me suddenly want to take my kids on nature walks and backyard camp and teach them about the wonders of the outdoors, and the need to preserve our planet and ….
… actually got me to check out the Earth Day 2015 website.
Anyone needing a refresher on Earth Day, it’s been celebrated since 1970, with more than 192 countries now participating each year. Canada joined the party in 1980. It ended up on April 22 in order to maximize participation on college campuses while not conflicting with religious holidays like Easter.
Earth Day Canada was founded in 1990 as a national charity and this Earth Day they are launching Earth Day Every Day, a national framework helping Canadians to reduce their carbon footprint 20% by 2020 via an online, mobile-friendly platform. They are challenging Canadians to commit to green acts, share their profile and achievements, and be recognized for making good green choices!
I spent some time surfing their site for motivation.
If I’m being honest? A lot of it is sort of like dieting and healthy living. I KNOW what I’m supposed to do.
Heck, I even once wrote a graduate level university paper on sustainable urban transit, urban planning and incentives to encourage behavioural change.
Summary? Urban sprawl bad. Lots of cars bad. Busses good. Trains better! Walking and biking even better!
Once upon a time I lived downtown. I walked to work; walked to the grocery; and owned a good street bike.
When I took part-time contract work in Toronto on top of my Ottawa job, I took the train, even though they offered to fly me.
I remember the warm, fuzzy glow of the moral superiority of my twenties.
Then my husband and I moved to the suburbs in preparation for parenthood.
And, like dieting, some of those choices got harder.
In our defence, it’s a near suburb: 15-20 minute drive to downtown. While that’s got more to do with not wanting to spend our lives in a car, than environmental conscientiousness …
You’re welcome Planet Earth!
And as the proud new owner of a YARD I also learned how to plant and maintain a vegetable garden during my first few years of home ownership and dutifully composted.
I figure that compensated for some of the commute, right?
About that, my husband and I assumed we’d both bus to work.
Until we worked out, even with parking, it was cheaper to drive.
Anyone who has survived the first year of home ownership knows you just kinda hemorrhage money. Heck! We didn’t even own a living room couch until we’d been in our home for a year.
In our defence, we carpooled until my job changed.
Then we had kids.
And, again, like dieting, some of those choices, again, got harder.
Among other things? Now that I realize kids in are car seats for, like, FOREVER, and how much crap they need, I’m way less judgemental of people who drive minivans and SUVs.
We still drive smaller cars, but I GET the need for space. If we ever want to bring anyone who isn’t skinny enough to be sandwiched between two car seats somewhere with us (which is basically anyone over about 130 lbs, and comfortably less), we’re suddenly taking two cars.
As for family holidays and trunk space? Let’s just say my years of playing Tetris for hours to and from away swim meets has come in handy. Don’t even get me started on stroller sizes. Let’s just say the peasants danced when we retired the baby tank.
Graco – I’m looking at you, so sturdy and affordable and, well, HUGE.
There’s no way we could make our current life work WITHOUT driving. Too far to reasonably bike – and in winter with kids bumping along in the back would be impractical. Bussing would cut more into the work day that daycare pickup deadlines already do. Heck! We currently drive our eldest to daycare to then be bussed to school because that means we drop off and pick up both kids at the same place. Need to coordinate a busy schedule between two working parents is the main driver there.
Telework is not currently an option for either my husband’s profession or mine. Particularly in his case, he’s a photographer. You can’t really “remote in” for that.
But I want to write about what I can do, not what I can’t.
I posted here in February about re-engaging with ways to be compassionate and engaged with the world. I think this might be the post where I signal starting to think about what I can reasonably start doing again on this front.
In a few years my eldest will be able to walk to school, so that’s a start there.
And while we keep both our small Mazda’s well maintained, which I know helps – I could look into what else can be done there.
We’ve already done a number of the eco upgrades on our home: new furnace, efficient appliances. We’ve had an eco inspection as well, so know what else we could do. I’m thinking added insulation in the attic is next.
And maybe this really is the summer that I start my veggie garden again – defunct since the birthing of babies began. It’s a lot of work, but I know the girls would like it.
And the eldest is learning to bike. The youngest is hell on a trike. She also has an early obsession with stargazing. I should maybe try to turn that into something more than our “race to point out the moon from the car” and our Pinterest board.
I think we really will backyard camp this summer.
What about you? What choices do you make to be environmental? Are you doing anything to celebrate Earth Day?