Today is April 22nd. It’s a Friday, which calls for celebration in itself. But today isn’t just a regular day. It’s National Jelly Bean Day.
Did you see that coming? Neither did I.
I know you were expecting me to mention the more widely renown holiday: National Girl Scout Leader’s Day.
Still not it? Oh, right, it’s National Earth Day! Silly me.
It’s become an increasingly-popular trend to designate one day to celebrate something special. While this is fun, it has two problems. The first one is that it can get really confusing, but it also forces us to celebrate that special thing in a 24-hour period. Jellybeans (in my humble opinion) can be accurately celebrated within this time frame, but the Earth needs a lot more time than that.
I sympathize with grist writer Katie Herzog, who today lamented that her email inbox was filled with promotions from companies who are using Earth Day to convince her that she can celebrate simply by purchasing their “green” goods. Because I foolishly choose to check my emails the first thing in the morning, my Earth Day began with similar promotional material:
Clothing brand Zady tried to get me to buy an organic cotton, limited edition T-shirt inscribed with “Vivre en Simplicité”. But I choose to “Live in Simplicity” by wearing a shirt that hasn’t seen the light of day in a few months, remembering that it looks pretty damn good, and vowing to wear it more often. Frontier Airlines tells me to “Celebrate Earth Day with a window seat and $29 fares”, embellishing their promotion with information about their light-weight seats made from recycled leather that saves 214 gallons of fuel a year. But I know that I can avoid using jet-fuel all together by choosing to take a bus, train, or carpool with friends when I travel. Furthermore, I don’t need to fly hundreds of miles via airplane to enjoy our Earth, especially since I live in beautiful Santa Cruz.
I love our Earth and I want to celebrate it. But we all know that it’s in trouble. The best way to celebrate our Earth is to understand what hurts it and how to fight for it. In a world of human-induced climate change, habitat destruction, and social injustice, there is plenty to fight for.
So when I think of Earth Day, I have two very different feelings toward it. The first is love, because I love a celebration for our world shared by all communities. I love hearing voices share about their connection to Earth, and about what they are doing to protect it. I love that people are changing their schedules to experience fresh air. But I also experience feelings of hate, because it’s become a day of buying new things instead of reusing, reducing, and recycling — which is literally the slogan of this national holiday. When the sun sets today, celebratory voices will fade and communities will retreat back indoors.
I encourage you to not let this sun set tonight, tomorrow, or ever. Extend your Earth Day, and re-think it’s purposes. College Eight is a few days deep into their celebration, and luckily for us, they still have more events planned:
- Tonight (Friday 4/22) is the Turn Down for Watt Festival which focuses on reducing energy consumption, accompanied by light-switch-cover DIYs and cookies & ice cream. Turn up from 6-8pm in the College Eight plaza.
- This weekend (Saturday & Sunday 4/23-24) is the Bioneers Conference promoting social, cultural and environmental change with activists, scholars, students, art and music. There will be activities all day in Kresge Town Hall.
- Next Friday (4/29) is the 15th Annual Earth Summit, where reflection and planning centered on the Blueprint for a Sustainable Campus will take place. Take action at College 9/10 MPR from 10AM – 3:30PM.
Click here for more information about these events.
Pictured: A snapchat that accurately displays my two feelings with Earth Week, with my cat Sprout displaying an overwhelming level of love for it and myself looking unimpressed.
What does your relationship with Earth Week looks like? Did you attend any of the events? Tell us about it in the comments below.