Caring for Mother Earth

First the rhyme…

13 steps you need to know
to make this world forever go

Recycle paper from a tree
to keep your breath forever free

Keep faucets off while brushing teeth
h2o doesn’t need to flow

Burn less coal, wood and oil
greenhouse gases make us boil

Stop unwanted letters and mail
so this Earth will never fail

Snip plastic six pack rings
save gulls and terns from the sting

Clean up trash by the road
so we won’t see any mold

Use detergents that are clean
flowing phosphates can’t be seen

Save some energy and pay less fees
turn water down to 130 degrees

Don’t go with the flow
Short showers keep us in tow

Ozone depletion through CFC’s
avoiding foam peanuts is the key

Carpool to work everyday
to keep our gas here to stay

Go shopping with a canvas bag
avoiding plastic is no gag

Toxins add to hazardous waste
buy non-toxic to have good taste

Simple things to save the Earth
it’s no trend, it’s the birth
~Christine (1991, Poetry 101)

 Now the lesson behind the rhyme…

In 1991, I was a student at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. For the first time, I learned about Earth Day that year. I attended an Earth Day festival on campus, photographed and wrote about the festival for one of my last projects in journalism school, and wrote a couple of poems for my Poetry 101 class. I wanted to do my part to care for Mother Earth, so I started recycling, a step in the right direction.

Earth Day was a big deal that year, but now it’s 17 years later and once again it’s a big deal. So my question for all of you is this: Is caring for Mother Earth going to be another trend that comes and goes, or are we all going to commit to doing our part — always? What can you commit to on an ongoing basis? What is “sustainable” for you? Recycling? Going vegan? Buying less stuff? Saying no to plastic water bottles? Small steps are good. Do what you can but do something, and keep doing it — day in and day out.

In the past year I began saying no to FREE bottled water at work and started bringing my own re-useable water bottle. I began consistently bringing my own re-useable bags to the grocery and other stores. I also changed out the majority of light bulbs in my home to environmentally-friendly compact fluorescent bulbs. I would love to hear steps you have taken to protect the Earth and what you plan to do going forward. Post a comment below and share your ideas! We are all in this together.

Earth Day is Tuesday, April 22nd. Happy Earth Day!

 And now another poem from 1991…

For Earth Day ’91 (and now 2008 and beyond)
Take the Earth to borrow
for your lifetime

Climb the high mountains
see for miles
Swim in clear blue oceans
guided by wild dolphins
Walk on hot sands
smelling cactus flowers
Camp in great forests
crowded with Redwoods too tall to climb
Run in wide open fields
green grass growing past your knees
Bicycle on never ending trails
feel the wind on your face, the sun on your back

See it
touch it
be with it
don’t break it

What is here today
may become shattered hopes of Mother Earth
destroying the future of
unknown generations
invited to share
this one Earth with

Take good care of her.
~ vegan girl next door (1991, edited 2008).

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