Earth Day 2023 is an excellent opportunity to celebrate all the ground
we’re standing on. Officially designated for April 22 annually since 1970, I
suggest we pick a day—any day, every day, and respect/marvel at our
wonderful earth’s glory and power.

As a child growing up on a farm, one of my favorite things to do this time of
year was to walk freshly plowed fields barefooted. There is something life-
giving about the warm earth between your toes, and of course, that meant it
was time for one of my favorite pastimes–making mud pies and cakes.

Before long it would be time for planting and chopping and the gentle
reminder from my father, “Cynthie, take care of the earth. They’re not making
anymore.” We’d laugh and it was years later when I realized his words were
true—they’re not making any more so it’s critical that we pause and
appreciate, celebrate, preserve, and take care of this beautiful and precious
thing we depend so heavily on.

I can’t decide if no-till farming is a blessing or not since there are no freshly
plowed fields—the new seeds are planted on top of the previously harvested
crops—but it means less wear and tear on the land, so I will get over myself.
Earlier this week I saw a tractor the size of a house plowing nearby, and I
was tempted to pull over and take off my shoes until I discovered that the
fields that had sustained generations was being cleared to make way for
progress. All the trees were gone and the house that had created memories
and children’s laughter was now a shack and a reminder of bygone days.

This Earth Day, let’s stop, look, and listen as the earth cries out for our help
to keep being our source of life and sustainability. Whether you own a
flowerpot full or hundreds of acres, the earth is a priceless gift, and we must
treasure it as such.

Here are some ways you can do your part:
Plant a tree and nurture it for the generations to come; plant bee-friendly
plants so the pollinators can do their magic; clean up your neighborhood and
pinch the folks who litter with no regard; intentionally purchase and use
earth-friendly household cleaning products; use natural pesticides in the
garden and on flower beds; take shorter showers and buy reduced flow
shower heads and bathroom fixtures; stop unwanted magazines and catalogs,
refuse water at restaurants if you don’t intend to drink it, and take fewer
grocery or shopping bags home.

If I have only a few items, I carry them in my hand since I’m the world’s
worse at remembering to take my own bags. My mother reused bread bags,
jelly jars, the Styrofoam trays, foil and sandwich bags like her life depended on
it. Now that I think about it, it did. Her lessons on reuse, recycle, and reduce
are today’s clarion call and I pray it is one we embrace.

As I watched television and saw flood and storm devastation around the
world this month, my heart broke because it wasn’t just people’s broken
hearts and dreams, but the land, rivers, and communities were broken and
ravaged too.

As we observe Earth Day 2023, think about how you and your
family can be friendlier to the earth. Whether it’s turning the water off as you
brush your teeth, or organizing a neighborhood cleanup, be proactive,
interested, generous, intentional–whatever that looks like—and protect this
perfect gift for today and tomorrow.