Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Take a Break this Earth Day!

The current economic crisis has everyone trying to do more with less. At a time when we're already feeling stretched beyond our limits, the pressure to perform has never been as great.

It's no coincidence that we're burning ourselves out at just about the same rate that we're burning out the planet. It's all connected. If we're going to survive we need to recognize that everybody - and everything - has a limit. That's the message we need to take to heart on Earth Day, April 22nd, and every other day of the year, too.

Just look at how we use our cars as personal time machines. If we're late, we hit the gas a little harder, throwing even more greenhouse and other deadly gases into the atmosphere, while endangering ourselves and others. If we happen to get hungry along the way, we pull up to the drive-thru window of our favorite fast food restaurant. While our cars idle, someone else prepares an over-packaged, high fat meal that we then shove into our already stressed gastrointestinal tracts. The packaging produces more unnecessary garbage for the dump, while we pollute our own personal environment. And then we wonder why we never seem to have enough energy.

Which brings another type of energy into the spotlight. When Thomas Edison invented the light bulb to extend our workday, he had no idea he was creating a monster. Instead of retiring when the sun goes down as our forefathers did, we push the envelope to the point where we are open for business 24-hours a day.
Night and day have become interchangeable in a world that has learned to live better electrically. E-mail and computers makes it possible to do business virtually any hour of the night or day from anywhere on the planet.

The cost is very high. It’s estimated that 40 to 80 percent of visits to the doctor’s office are for stress related conditions. These include heart disease, chronic fatigue, high blood pressure, migraines, chronic pain, chronic fatigue and depression.

The environment is paying the price, too. Global warming, caused by the burning of fossil fuels to generate electricity and fuel our cars, is the single greatest threat to environmental stability and human survival.

What we do to the planet, we ultimately do to ourselves. To celebrate Earth Day, why not give yourself and the planet a break. Nurture your soul and the soil by spending a little time dallying in the dirt. Prepare your flowerbeds for spring or mulch last year’s compost into your garden.

While you’re at it, give a little something back to the Earth and plant a tree or two. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, the primary cause of global warming, and return life-giving oxygen to the air. In addition, planting trees around your home can reduce the need for air-conditioning by up to 40 per cent. In the winter, these same trees can cut heating costs by 10 to 20 per cent. This further reduces our energy needs, which cuts the amount of carbon dioxide and other harmful gases released into the atmosphere.

Instead of fighting traffic, take public transit and let someone else worry about the driving. Better yet, enjoy moving at your own personal pace for a change and really look around you. Take a walk in the country or saddle up the family and go for a bike ride. Carry a plastic bag and collect any recyclable bottles or cans you see along the way.

When the sun goes down, don’t bother turning on the lights or the television. Instead, light soy or beeswax candles and spend some time with your family. Take turns telling stories or share the day’s activities with each other. Go to bed early and get a good night's sleep for a change.

If this sounds like your mother talking – it is – Mother Earth. And it’s high time you both were treated with a little kindness.


Earth Day Canada

For the latest scientific reports about global warming, visit The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)


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