Earth Day 2022: Not just a one-day celebration
As I opened my Chrome browser the other day, I came to realize that it was Earth Day. I may be late for writing a blog post about this special day, but for me, it is the most relevant and timeless topic to talk about.
We as inhabitants of this planet might be different in some aspects of life such as ethnicity, race, culture, social-economic status, and religion but we have something in common as Earthlings. We are all interconnected no matter the geographic location we are living in. To preserve this planet is not only a one-day awareness and celebration. For me, we should change our lifestyle to preserve Mother Earth. And live sustainably for the years to come.
Different celebrations in other parts of the world
There are lots of celebrations for Earth Day such as turning off all lights for one hour. Or it may be a form of live music shows and eco-bazaars. During this time of the pandemic, large gatherings were mostly canceled and have been replaced by online events. That is indeed a fun way to celebrate! However, awareness should be done anywhere, anytime in our daily lives.
It comes from our homes and school first, implementing practices that are beneficial to our planet. And to educate people on the importance of eco-living.
Urbanization affects the way we live
There was an abrupt change in the way we live through my observation. When I was a kid, everything was slow-paced. You have time to create things from your own hands. Clothes were made by the neighborhood dressmaker instead of buying from fast fashion. Groceries were all raw and unpackaged. I remember buying cooking oil at the store and we should bring an empty wine bottle to put the oil instead of grabbing it from the store shelves. Everything was sold without plastic packages. The items we bought were covered with old newspapers. The soft drinks we bought were always exchanged with an empty glass bottle. It was life during the early 1980s. It might not be convenient these days but we never complained about it. That was our way of life.
Fast forward to the 1990s when every commodity was sold in plastic packages and bottles. I was amazed at how things have changed. Living life was a little bit faster, more comfortable, and more convenient. And yet, it slowly damaged our planet. People throw rubbish everywhere without segregating the trash that they created. Along came the operations of fast-food restaurants and commercial centers in the city. People were amazed at the rapid urbanization of the sleepy town where I lived. Modernization, although good for the country’s economy also has its share of problems related to the environment.
Effects of consumerism
Back in the old times when most of the products we consumed were hand-made, there was a lesser amount of trash and people valued the material things that they owned. They use, took care of it, and even pass it on to the next generation. Nowadays people are earning more and products began to diversify. This leads to consumerism and people are just confused between essentialism and hoarding. Consumerism according to Wikipedia is a social-economic order that encourages the acquisition of goods and services in ever-increasing amounts. The effects of ads shown on TV, billboards, radio, and social media have an incredible impact on a person’s well-being. In an effort to fit into the consumer society, many people fell onto the trap of a never-ending cycle of splurging to satisfy themselves. These often resulted in non-essential things that will be turned into trash if not disposed of properly.
Awareness, education, and lifestyle switch
I came across a news article about fast fashion and the garbage that they created. Sad to say, the clothes from developed countries such as the US were shipped to some countries in Africa, to be sold as second-hand clothing in the markets. The clothes that were severely damaged were thrown across the beaches, creating a mountain of garbage. It was heartbreaking to see this garbage that can clog up our oceans and seas. As a consumer myself, I felt guilty about the waste produced by human activities. Simple activities like shopping which seem to be harmless turned out to be the root cause of some of our planet’s problems.
A solution to big problems includes a lifestyle switch. No matter how small it starts, it can create a huge change in healing our planet. Some companies changed their products to zero-waste and lesser use of plastics. before we shop, we should consider asking some questions: Is this product really essential? Is it a one-time use product or multi-use/functional? Can I recycle this product?To live sustainably is very beneficial to our society and future generation. Let’s embrace change in our current lifestyles and always remember that we only have one home: Our Mother Earth and nothing else.