Sunday, April 17, 2016

7 Quick Takes - Earth Day Edition

A big thank you to Kelly at her blog for hosting this (belated) edition of Quick Takes!

I loved being a child of the '70s. It was just an awesome decade to grow up in. I wore sundresses and bell-bottoms and had long hair. In elementary school, we learned all about energy conservation and had long recesses. Neighborhood kids played outside (a lot) while our mothers were inside, trying to figure out how to make things like soybean patties and homemade granola. At Christmas time, very few neighbors hung lights on their homes, and when they did, we were amazed at how much electricity they were wasting. We took short showers and waited in long lines at the gas station. We grew up with Woodsy Owl, who told us to "Give a hoot. Don't pollute," and the crying Indian commercial. Being concerned about the environment didn't make you a liberal or a democrat or a hippie or a tree hugger. It made you an ordinary citizen.

So, I suppose it's only natural that I think Earth Day is a good thing. A product of the '70s (April 22, 1970, to be exact), Earth Day was intended to be a celebration of the one thing we all have in common...namely, this planet we all share... and a call-to-arms to take care of it. If it goes down the tubes, we all go down with it, kinda like the Titanic. Unfortunately, people like me now must bear the many labels that go with being concerned about our natural environment. Caring for the environment, like so many other issues, has become highly politicized and polarized. It makes me long for the 1970s again, when at least we could all agree on something.

Anyhow, I wanted to share a few of the things my family is doing this week in honor of Earth Day. I hope maybe it inspires others to consider getting in on the act as well.  Just be forewarned. Someone might call you a hippie. Or a granola-cruncher. It's okay. You're in pretty good company.

1. Go Outside
I know. Sounds like a no-brainer. But seriously, I wonder how many people, especially school kids, will spend this entire week indoors?  Walking to and from the car doesn't count! So, if you do nothing else this week, just take a little extra time to go outside. Find a park, playground, or just your backyard, and spend some time in it. Go for a hike or maybe just sit in the sun. It's all good! We went for a hike yesterday to an old fire lookout tower in a park near our home. My son got to learn about history and conquer his fear of heights plus fill his lungs with some fresh air.  Win win!

2. Look at the Moon
This year, Earth Day coincides with the full moon.  My boys and their dad just love to sit outside and stargaze. They look for airplanes and satellites and shooting stars and when the moon is full, they love to look through binoculars at it. Odds are, this Friday night, weather-permitting, we'll be checking out the full moon again. And if you live in an area where the light pollution is bad, check out some of the parks nearby.  Several parks have stargazing programs for the public. Or perhaps you could visit a planetarium, or take a drive out to the countryside and find a place to stargaze. It's always humbling to look up and remember just how small we really are.

3. Feed the Hummingbirds
The ruby-throated hummingbirds showed back up here this past week and we were so excited! It always feels like the return of a long-missed friend when the summer birds return, especially the hummingbirds. We rushed to get our feeder up so that they will set up housekeeping in our backyard.  My son was so excited that he hurriedly designed and built his own hummingbird feeder and then hung it on his bicycle. He was so proud of his handiwork! Those hummingbirds will have to be pretty quick to catch that feeder!

4. Plant something
We are planting potatoes this week, but you can plant anything for Earth Day. Weather still too cold to plant in the garden? How about picking or buying a few fresh flowers for the home?  Or perhaps taking a field trip to a local plant nursery and buying herbs for the kitchen? Just one flower or green thing can go a long ways towards lifting the spirit.

5. Backyard Camping
We went camping this weekend. In the backyard. About 20 yards from our house. It was wonderful. I love "real" camping but I hate hate hate getting all the "stuff" ready to go camping. So, I get around the latter by advocating for backyard camping. Pitching the tent in the backyard saves me lots and lots and lots of time and effort and the kids still love it. They still get to sleep in a tent and eat s'mores and I still get to use an indoor restroom and take a shower and keep my sanity. I highly recommend it.

6. Reduce/Reuse/Recycle
I know, this one is pretty obvious too. But perhaps you are like me and didn't quite get around to giving some stuff away to charity for Lent. Why not do it for Earth Day? Every piece of clothing or item that gets reused by someone else reduces manufacturing and consumption by just a teeny little bit. We'll be cleaning out our winter closet this week, so it's a great time to consider reducing, reusing or recycling a lot of what we've got.

7. Eat Some Dandelions
Okay, so this one will definitely get you labeled a hippie.  But seriously, don't knock it 'til you try it. I have always known that dandelions are edible (and very nutritious) but didn't realize just how yummy they can be until I tried this recipe. We loved them so much, we've picked every dandelion we can find on our property and made three batches! It makes a great little appetizer and is fun for the kids. You might actually be able to get them to eat something healthy this way.

So how are you planning to celebrate Earth Day?  I'd love to hear your ideas or stories. As a friend of mine once said, "There's a little bit of hippie in all of us." I like to believe he was right.

Happy Earth Day!


  1. Great ideas here!! I don't have anything special planned for this week, but I know the boys will be doing some things at school in honor of Earth Day. Good to know the moon will be full this weekend, maybe we'll go outside Friday night and do some stargazing as well (assuming good weather). One thing I've been thinking about recently is how much trash we put out each week. It's not as bad as I would expect for a family of 5, but that might be because we now compost almost all food scraps for our garden. It's amazing to me how much that has changed the number of trash bags we put in the bin each week.

    1. Composting is a great idea! So glad you are doing it. Weather isn't looking good for Friday night but maybe that'll give us an excuse to visit the planetarium at EKU soon. You should consider checking it out if you haven't already. Happy Earth Day!