I’d like to say that I made an honest attempt to ride my bike to work today in honor of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, but that would be a lie. Sometime last night, after a quick calculation of what I had to do before finally going to sleep and how many hours remained until morning, I knew I wouldn't be awake early enough to commute via bike.
Instead, I took public transportation and made a vow to not use my car at all today. After work, I’ll spend some time in the park near my home. This evening, I’ll meet a friend at the coffee shop that’s within walking distance, where I’ll bring my own travel mug instead of using a disposable cup.
These are all small things, for sure. If you argued that I’m not doing anything that will make a noticeable impact on the environment, or lead to a drastic change in my own behavior going forward, you’d probably be right. (Let’s be honest. I usually take public transportation to work; it wasn’t exactly a sacrifice.) I won’t be saving the world by bringing my own mug to the coffee shop tonight, even if I choose shade-grown, organic, fair trade coffee beans.
But making a conscious effort to be aware of our actions can be a good first step, particularly on the 40th anniversary of an environmental holiday that, according to the Earth Day Network, “can be a turning point to advance climate policy, energy efficiency, renewable energy and green jobs … Earth Day 2010 is a pivotal opportunity for individuals, corporations and governments to join together and create a global green economy.”
I’ll keep taking my small steps, doing what I can in the moment, and hoping that others will, too. In the meantime, I’m going to dust off my bike, pump some air into the tires and give it a quick safety check. One of these days, I’ll wake up early, the sun will shine, and I’ll ride that bike all the way to work.
What about you – how are you celebrating Earth Day?