Earth Day Nineteen Years Later

Today, April 22, is Earth Day 2019. This year’s theme is Protect Our Species all across the globe. Back in 2000, I was dreaming about having a new home with my wonderful family. But that was then. Harrow-Smiths latest issue was all about garbage and ways that households like mine could strive not to have any garbage.

I would like you to read the following letter that Nancy, a woman out in Prince George, wrote to me. The letter relates to her struggles to lead a cleaner life already back then. We all should follow her example, wouldn’t you agree? Caring for the future of our planet and protecting our resources should be part of our basic education, wouldn’t you agree?

Her letter emphasizes the concept of reduce reuse recycle. Reducing is the easiest and the best way to save resources because it doesn’t cost anything. Reusing something for another purpose, i.e. that glass jar you bought full of pickles can now be used to store rice, is second best because you will use a bit of energy, hot water, and soap to clean the glass jar.

Recycling should be our last resort because it takes the most energy to make that empty plastic coke bottle into a polecat sweater. Let our teachers tell this aloud in their classrooms! Let’s take a fresh look at the story she sent me.

Nancy’s Story

“In the town where we lived, a Recycling Society was formed and I became a member. After successfully lobbying our local governments we were able to change the way our garbage was managed. Our biggest achievement was the implementation of a recycling/reusing center. You were still a powerful figure in those days, and maybe still, I don’t know you that well, so that’s why I send you this letter.

I advised on designing and sewing hundreds of nylon bags to be sold in a friends’ earth-friendly store as shopping bags. We still use ours today for grocery shopping. In fact, I’m so glad I found the time to organize our oh, so, great St. Patrick’s Day party just a few weeks ago. That was FUN!

Another local group, The Peace River Organic Producers Association, aimed at educating local farmers about organic farming and encouraging them to become certified. I attended a meeting and became a member that very night. It was exciting times, the notion of being green was becoming mainstream and there were many government-funded courses available now for qualifying students to study the related fields.

The momentum was building and the first earth summit was held in Rio de Janeiro Brazil back in 2000. More than 100 heads of state attended to sign the convention on climate change, biological diversity and sustainability.

I find it ironic that all this happened nineteen years ago. Today, we are still talking about banning plastic shopping bags. Counties like Prince George still do not have a blue box collection program which would force people to at least recycle.

In the movie An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore, remember, we were already told climate change is occurring too fast. I say whatever we do from this day forward will have to be implemented a lot faster than what we have accomplished in the last nineteen years. We, at least, did our part (so I believe) by reducing our food cost so drastically. See also: Bill Clinton Admires William Gates Sr.

My old Volkswagen Golf is dying like I thought I was the last few days. The garage says it needs a new transmission and they’re probably right. I just don’t like their price to fix it. Some people think we should get a transmission from the wrecker and put it in ourselves. Apparently, you can rent machines to do this but I’ve been contemplated buying a new car, this one is very old and has far too many miles on it.

I know, unlike some relationships, the relationship I have with this car is almost at an end. We went new car hunting the other day even though I was hoping the Volkswagen would last until at least next summer. We have an old truck we could drive instead and my son has a car, we would get by without it. (personal note: Check out also this short William “Bill” Clinton biography)

We could drive the Volkswagen until it finally dies or we could park it now and try and get something for it or we could fix it. Some decisions are hard to make. This morning, with the sun pouring through the windows, warming up the hard frost outside I reached for the phone. A long time ago, my mother and her three sisters had a huge argument.

It isolated them from each other for years, they wouldn’t visit each other or even speak on the phone. My mother’s efforts finally got all the sisters back together and talking. We all heaved a sigh of relief. life is too short for disagreements. Maybe your Bill Clinton Foundation should take a more active stand regarding our severe climate threats!”