22 - 2010

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day to everyone! This post is a bit delayed because I spent this morning helping out with some Earth Day projects (planting flowers and mulching trees) at my daughter’s school. The kids worked really hard before a downpour set in. The ones with the wheelbarrows were racing to deliver the most mulch. “I’m trying to lap ’em!” one of them told me as he huffed and puffed past me.

We also got to engage in an unanticipated bit of wildlife viewing. I had the pleasure of taking small groups of children to a quiet corner of the school property, far from play areas, where an amazing — and  frightening — creature has taken up residence beneath a wheelbarrow. For my daughter’s class, which is studying predators, it was cool to have a close-up look at this predator, a 2-inch-long female black widow spider:

Rest assured that the kids were instructed to look from a safe distance. We talked about how poisonous the spiders are, never to touch them, and to be careful about reaching into dark areas like the underside of this wheelbarrow because there could be danger resting there. They were all very cautious and kept their distance.

(By the way, I wrote a while back about natural ways to get rid of insect pests, and learn to like harmless spiders. You don’t have to learn to like black widows and other toxic creatures, but if you can put aside natural terror of this creature for a moment, it’s awe-inspiring!)

Moving forward: 40 Earth Days

My post earlier this week about Earth Day challenges garnered a rousing zero comments from y’all.

Nevertheless, I’ve been thinking about how to continue the spirit of Earth Day — the real spirit of taking action for our planet, not the urgings to buy green “stuff” — in a conscious manner.

The conclusion I came to was that I would like to take 40 days to do something each day to expand upon my environmental actions — a bit like Lent for the earth. (For Christians, Lent is 40 days of fasting, reflection and repentance prior to Easter, when Christians commemorate Christ’s resurrection and thus the promise of forgiveness and rebirth.) Each day, I will do something new, now through May 31. Conveniently, that concluding day falls on Memorial Day in the United States — the first holiday of summer, which seems like a beautiful time to wrap up the challenge!

Please join the challenge!

I won’t ask you to give anything up for 40 days, but to make a small change every day on the next 40 days. You can make the same change repeatedly — if you love sipping through a straw, you could purchase a reusable glass or stainless steel straw one day, or you could choose not to take a straw as the occasion arises. If you have a hard time remembering your reusable bags, you can claim victory each time you *do* remember during the 40 days.

These actions don’t have to be large, but they should be something new or different — so writing my blog post won’t count. Today, helping with the school garden and admiring Mother Nature’s frightening spider handiwork counts.

I’ll tweet about my daily actions (follow me on Twitter here or watch the box at right) and will post periodic updates.

Will you join me? Please share your “Earth Lent” goals and progress here.

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