Confession: Earth Day had never exactly been on my radar of super important things.
Now, don’t get me wrong. When I was active, I accompanied my chapter in beautifying our community and our campus; however, outside of that, picking up trash wasn’t something I thought about very often.
I’d like to somehow defend myself by saying that when you’re in college, your mind is constantly filled with theories, equations, snack runs and late night loft chats with sisters… not necessarily on the environment.
But that’s not fair.
For the past 40 years, people have been using Earth Day as a turning point to educate, raise awareness, and make a difference in their communities. It’s a day where strangers can come together and do something worthwhile to benefit people who they may never meet. They may pick up trash, plant trees, create a park out of an empty lot, or teach friends and family the importance of recycling.
This is one day where a person sets aside time to do something selfless for others. When you beautify an area (whether it’s picking up trash, planting trees, etc.) that’s something that doesn’t JUST benefit you.
For example: lately, I’ve made a conscious attempt to get out of my apartment and go for a walk at some point during my work day. When I decide which direction I want to go, I take into account where exactly the sidewalk leads. My end destination is usually the same, but for me, it’s about the journey to get there. I rarely choose the direct route to the downtown city streets and instead, I choose residential side streets. Sure, I’m going out of my way, but you know what? I wish you could see these side streets. Believe me, it’s one gorgeous walk…
Rather than seeing concrete, cars and people, I’d rather see tall trees, green grass and colorful flowers. I go out of my way because I’d rather be surrounded by the beauty of the area. I’m almost positive these beautiful trees (which I adore) weren’t planted a few weeks ago. Somebody planted those trees YEARS AGO for me to enjoy TODAY.
When you take a few hours out of your day to do something small for your community, it’s hard to imagine the impact it’ll have years to come.
Personally, this impact wasn’t something that was extremely obvious to me. However, when I look at my day and the things I enjoy (especially as the weather is warming up) most of them involve fresh, clean air, brightly colored flowers, and sitting in the shade of a tree and reading a book.
These things which I enjoy were created by a decision someone had years ago to better their surroundings.
I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t realize just how important these “little things” really are. It doesn’t take long to beautify an area (whether you’re by yourself or you choose to meet up with others who are doing the same), but the benefits are both astounding and long-lasting.
This post was written by Kate Fodera. Contact Kate at Kate.firstname.lastname@example.org
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