Earth Day - What Can You Promise Our Mother?
By Sarah Villafranco, MD
Posted in Blog, on April 16, 2013
When is the last time you really thought about Earth Day? It’s one of those days that we all support in theory, but have practically forgotten about by the end of the day. We need to think about it MORE, NOW, because it’s next Monday.
Reading about the history of Earth Day made me think about what had to happen for it to come into existence, in 1970 – three years before I was born. It was an incredible reminder for me that brave actions by a very few people can lead to epic, national-level change. The 43 years that have passed since the the founding of Earth Day have seen more environmental progress and awareness than its founders could possibly have imagined when they had the courage to try something new.
The very first Earth Day – April 22, 1970 – came about as a result of collaboration between a democratic senator, Gaylord Nelson, and a republican congressman, Pete McCloskey. Senator Nelson, fueled by the fervent anti-war energy swirling among the American people, and a catastrophic 1969 oil spill, conceived of and promoted Earth Day in 1970, with the support of McCloskey, a bold republican who saw that things needed to change, political differences be damned. They watched as 20 million people, from every faction, class, and race, united across the country on that day, protesting, cleaning up trash, finding themselves part of a global community they didn’t know existed. What an unexpected and powerful thing to have in common – their understanding of how we, as a race, need to take better care of this planet. This awareness spurred the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act.
All this because a senator and a congressman from opposite parties put their heads together and saw the potential for humans to become an endangered species if massive, collaborative change to our ecosystem did not start right THEN.
When I started Osmia, I made a promise to myself that I would consider Mother Earth in every decision I made for the company. From ingredient sourcing to product packaging to shipping materials to the paper we use in our printers, I think of Her. It doesn’t mean that the company has ZERO environmental impact. While we use glass packaging for serums and perfumes, we also use some plastic airless pumps. But, we use ones that are made with 30% less plastic and are completely recyclable because they don’t have any metal parts. The point is that every choice was made consciously, after considering its environmental impact. And our hope is that we will, one product at a time, make peoples’ homes, medicine cabinets, showers, and perfume collections less toxic to them, and less harmful for the ecosystem we all inhabit.
So. What tiny change will you make in your daily life this year, so that in 43 years, you can look back and feel a plump little kernel of pride that YOU contributed to making this planet a living legacy. One that we can pass to our children – complete with real, live trees and plants and animals, and drinkable water and breathable air?? Need suggestions? We will list a few below, and we hope you’ll come up with some great ones to share with us!
- No more bottled water. Bring a bottle with you. Same goes for coffee cups.
- Reusable grocery bags – every time.
- Consider second hand clothing for your young kids. Come on, they’re going to destroy the clothes in 12.6 days and you know it.
- Never put a recyclable piece of trash (bottle, can, etc.) in a regular trash can. Carry it until you can find a place to recycle it.
- Ride a bike, walk, or use public transportation when possible. If those don’t work, think about carpooling?
- Try to use more natural products to clean your home. Even the big, mainstream brands are coming out with better options these days.
- Choose less chemically-laden personal care products for yourself and your family – fewer sulfates, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, etc. This means reading labels, yes.
- Reusable lunch boxes and bags for the kiddos.
- Wash your ziploc bags and dry them on a thingy like this.
- Consider starting a compost pile. It’s not as scary as it seems.
- Give unwanted clothing to charity, and unwanted books to your local library.
- Any time you are about to dump unused water down the drain (like a glass you didn’t have time to finish), go dump it in your houseplants instead.
- Grow your own herbs – those plastic herb containers are so much plastic for so little stuff! It’s a great project for your kids or elderly relative – feeding and watering living things is a job that feeds and waters us, as well.
Now, tell us. What will you promise our Mother this Earth Day?