Earth Day. Mother’s Day. Father’s Day. Valentine’s Day.
Every time these holidays roll around you’re bound to hear someone talking about how trivial it is to celebrate something one day out of the year that you should be honoring and respecting every day of your life. Right now that person is me. But instead of arguing that Earth Day is contrived and unnecessary (I wish it were), I’m saying just the opposite.
It’s hard to imagine something worth celebrating more than the planet that we live on. We take national holidays and days out of work and school to honor important people’s birthdays, we spend months decorating for and celebrating a spiritual event leading up to one big day in December, and yet most of us see Earth Day come and go without even a thought (don’t believe me? Ask the next 10 people you see what they did or even thought about for Earth Day this year). If society says that the most important holidays deserve our schools, businesses and government to close down then we should absolutely stop working for a day in honor of the one thing we could never live without. Otherwise we continue to send the message that Earth Day is a minor holiday and deserves nothing more than a mention on the calendar and maybe some brief discussions in the classrooms.
I’m not arguing that other holidays don’t deserve the respect and attention they get. But, the moment you begin to compare the importance of honoring and protecting our planet alongside many other holidays, something starts to feel a little bit backwards. Is the Earth less important than the birthday of a brilliant politician, the start of a new calendar year or collecting candy from our neighbors?
We shouldn’t have Earth Day, we should probably have Earth Week. Or better yet we should have one day a month dedicated to some form of honor, celebration or discussion about the planet we live on and how we plan to make it better. If it sounds like a boring introspective or community-service oriented holiday to you, you’re probably forgetting that we already do these things as part of other holidays: on Thanksgiving we give thanks, we give back and we come together to show a collective gratitude. On New Year’s Day we make resolutions and promises to improve our lives and how we’ll be better in the year ahead.
It’s great to see that humans value our relationships and family above so much else. It’s why we put so much emphasis on a holiday like Thanksgiving or Mother’s Day. But in so many ways we’ve forgotten that to be thankful for good family, friends and health is impossible without a healthy planet to live on. Unless your religious beliefs tell you that our physical existence is meaningless, it’s impossible to deny: Earth Day trumps all.
It’s time we started viewing Earth Day on the same level as so many of the other holidays we celebrate with passion in this country. If it helps you get into the spirit, start giving eco-themed gifts to your friends, plant a tree in their honor or cook a traditional meal to celebrate (shop at your local Farmer’s Market if you can). Tradition, when done right, can help add meaning and importance to a day that would otherwise go unrecognized.
I don’t want this to be a rant, I just wanted to add my two cents on the subject and give you all something to think about and hopefully talk about this year without just letting Earth Day come and go.
On a side note, to help keep the Earth Day spirit alive I decided this morning to extend the big Eco Tote sale we did on Friday through the rest of the week. I’ve got lots of Eco Totes to ship out from the sale already and it makes me happy to see all the positive comments and feedback we’re getting, like this note I got over the weekend:
I bought an Eco Tote at the Great American Beer Festival in September 2010. I absolutely ADORE my Eco Tote! It is the best bag EVER!!!!! It fits a ridiculous amount of stuff into it. Every time I go to the grocery store, I challenge the checkout person to fit everything into my one Eco Tote, and they almost always can!
I just ordered a second one to have around just in case I go crazy at the store.
Thanks for a really amazing product!!!
The coupon code is EARTHDAY11 and you can use it to get 30% off every tote in your order through the end of the week. Using reusable bags like our Eco Totes every time you go to the store is one of the simplest ways you can keep the spirit of Earth Day alive throughout the year.
What did you do to commemorate Earth Day this year? Do you already have any Earth Day traditions that you and your family take part in every year? Let me know about it in the comments.