Love Your Mother

~ks pepper 2010
~ks pepper 2010

Love your mother. Not only the mother who gave you life, but the mother who gives us all life.  Today is Earth Day. Do something special to express that love.

All over the world folks are celebrating the earth. It’s grown into one massive global party. From parades to tree planting to upcycling (using trash to create art or other products of value) events, this is the day the world connects as one, holding a vast virtual vessel of earth mindfulness.

It brings me immeasurable relief to see the worldwide efforts for our earth.

Did you know?

Earth Day has been around since 1970? Founded by a Senator Gaylord Nelson, the first earth day generated enough enthusiasm to garner support from 20 million Americans.

The Earth Day Network launched a Green Cities campaign that will carry on through Earth Day 2015. A grassroots effort spanning the globe, the Earth Day Network is connecting citizens, nonprofits, governments and businesses to help bring about positive and necessary changes for making cities more sustainable through energy usage, building codes and design and transportation. It’s a lofty plan that is already showing positive results. From the Best Western (creating charging stations for electric vehicles) to Burma (solar power brought to a refugee camp – why there are refugees is an entirely different story), global efforts are manifesting a shared aspiration: To care for this earth, our home, this living, breathing organism that is continually and vigorously working to heal despite centuries of bombardment by human-caused impediments. We thrive when the earth thrives and on some level, I believe this is the reason we celebrate the earth on her special day.

There are many (and simple) things you can do to be an Earth Advocate (aka a human who makes efforts). And if you’re inspired to start taking action straight away, like today, I have two suggestions:

1. Get yourself a reusable beverage container

Americans use (purchase and discard) about 50 BILLION plastic bottles annually. Whenever I bring up this topic, most people say, “yeah, but I recycle them”. If so, then good on you mate, because less than 25% of plastic bottles are actually recycled. The rest end up in landfills and waterways breaking down into small-enough bits to harm wildlife. Still, that doesn’t account for the wasteful spending along with the waste of resources to create, package, transport and recycle those bottles. But, really, why oh why are you drinking water out of plastic?  Oh, and that “spring” water you’re drinking? For all you know, it came from someone’s bath (I almost wrote ‘toilet’) water in Indonesia. If your tap water is that bad, invest in a water filter and drink from a cup. Consider the costs on the earth and your wallet. Go tap. And then go out there and get yourself a reusable bottle. Tap out man.

2. Get yourself reusable shopping bags

Several years ago, I wrote an article outlining the resources consumed and wasted in manufacturing and consuming paper and plastic bags: Deforestation or Marine Life Devastation? Which do you choose?

Bottom line: You will survive without your paper and plastic, but all of us may not survive if we don’t stop the insanity of overusing single use products like grocery bags. And if you claim that you use the bag twice, once for groceries and once for your garbage bin, I’m not impressed. I see plastic bags on every beach I’ve ever been to, in rivers, in trees while driving on highways and small roads, along roadways, stuck to chain-link fences. This list goes on. One day I’ll have a blog post dedicated to the plastic litter I’ve seen around the world. Sad.

But the worst thing I ever saw was a photo of a baby otter who swam into a plastic bag and became stuck in there. The image is of his mother desperately clawing at the bag to get him out. She could see her baby was dying. She did manage to get him out and he was bloodied. We can only hope he survived the oxygen depletion. Plastic pollution (including cigarette butts which do NOT biodegrade) is killing marine mammals at an alarming rate. It is destroying the ocean. If you do anything, if you make any change starting today, start using reusable bags. And then use your creativity to find an alternative to lining your garbage bin or your bird cage or your whatever. If you must use plastic, there are options. There are (nonGMO) biodegradable bags. Scott and I have used biodegradable garbage bags (found on Amazon at If You Care Tall Kitchen Bags (12×12 Ct))
and dog poop bags (300 Earth Rated Dog Waste Poop Bags for Pantries and Waste Stations, Lavender Scented, 300-Count). Mostly, we challenge ourselves to make as little garbage as possible, to reduce our consumption thus our waste.

For groceries, reusable shopping bags make sense – less dollar waste, less resource waste, less crap in landfills, less pollution in the ocean, more trees, more happy air to breathe. All of this and they hold more groceries resulting in fewer trips back and forth when unloading. It’ll build character and muscles – get the reusable bag. Make the earth smile.

Love your mother. Start today and try something new.

Today, in honor of Earth Day, I picked up other people’s litter.

Oh, and I had a respectful discussion with a carload of men after one of them threw a plastic bag out the window. About 100 vehicles were stuck in a 45-min construction zone on the road. The side of the road is trashed, and I’ve witnessed about a dozen litter offenders. This is an unfortunate and common occurrence here in South Africa- folks throwing trash out their car windows. I’d like to believe the men in that car will think twice before doing that again. And hey, I got myself a brand new shiny plastic bag as a token reward for speaking up. And I hope others would do so as well.

What will you do today to show your love for Mother Earth?

Please write in the comments section below.
No Haikus necessary but if you feel up to it…go for it.

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I step lightly upon her rich soil
gazing with fresh eyes
humbled by all she provides

Do others see it too?
Her beauty manifests in the world that surrounds us.
Embracing, holding warmly, tightly.
Unyielding.

Will she be here forever?
Long after our children’s children have departed?

I see differently now than before.

I see the sorrow so intensely my heart hurts
in the air, the waters, the trees, the soil, the animals, flora, the bees, the people

When she suffers
I suffer.
We suffer.

She, more enlightened that I
patiently awaits
with ancient enduring wisdom
for a collective awakening

I see her joy, too, so vividly my eyes burn
from vibrant abundance
announcing the vitality of life

I hear her in calming sounds, melodies
I feel her in breezes softly reassuring
Air, air so alive it breathes for me
exhaling pure love.

~Kenda Swartz Pepper

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5 Comments

    1. kendaswartz@gmail.com

      I know Dad’s work has played a major role in influencing me. I’m so grateful for that. And for you.
      love you too, Mom. You’re my favorite Mother! 🙂

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