Love Your Mother

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I often comment on how Mom is our first home. We are created inside our mothers and she houses us for many months while we grow.

I don’t want to be cliché today. You’re going to see a LOT of stuff, I’m sure, about today in the news. But since my topic is home, I need to at least say something in honor of Earth Day.

Many religions believe humans were formed from the earth. We are born of the earth. Earth is our first Mother.

Like a good Mother, she nourishes us, soothes us, and protects us. From Her, we are fed. In Her fields and waters, trees and forests, mountains and sands, we are  comforted, we find peace. In those same places, we can be protected from harm—if we access them wisely. She gives us herbs and medicine to heal ourselves. She provides materials to build shelter. Without Earth, we have no home.

And, like children everywhere, we are rebellious. We think we know better than She does. We try to manipulate Her according to our whims and desires. Sometimes, She allows us to get away with it. Other times, Her reaction is swift.

Today, I hope you will do what She wants more than anything: pay attention to Her. Spend the day with Her, if you can. And if you can’t, at least give Her a gift. Donate to an organization that is dedicated to protecting Her. Plant some flowers, plant a tree, start a compost pile. Walk instead of drive.  Consider today a holy day.

I’m sure you know the ubiquitous Reduce*Reuse*Recycle directive. And hopefully, you are already doing this.

Turns out, however, that recycling is in jeopardy. For decades, we were shipping our recyclables to China and India. (That alone seems ridiculous, don’t you think? We really haven’t figured out the technology to turn old plastic into something new here in the good old U.S.A.??)

Well, China and India won’t take our plastics anymore. And U.S. recycling plants are closing due to minimal profits and huge hassles. Meanwhile, landfills are raking in the money. In America, sadly, money always wins.  Learn more here: the recycling crisis

Recycle Across America is a nonprofit committed to solving this crisis and you can help. Their website has LOTS of great information. I’ve been recycling since the late 1980s and it turns out there are still some things I’ve been doing wrong. Here are two things I learned from Recycle Across America:

I’ve been carrying my own bags into stores for years now. But when I was in Italy, I routinely put my plastic recyclables into plastic bags to move them to the plastic recyclable bin. Whoops!
Compostable plastics are TRASH! It’s so tempting to think they’re recyclable that I know I’ve made this mistake myself, especially at parties where compostable products are used.

Yes, I realize that I can be annoying. I move plastic out of public trash and into recycle bins, like in the airport or at festivals or even people’s homes. At restaurants, I always ask what their containers for leftovers are made of. If it’s styrofoam or plastic, forget it. I won’t take home the rest of my meal. And this is a sacrifice my friends because I’m frugal as heck and I always love leftovers.

Do my actions help? I want to believe they do. If we all do something, that’s a whole lot better than nothing.

This year and moving forward, what are you doing to show your Mother that you love her?

By the way, if you love trees or are even nominally interested in trees and the old-growth crisis here in the U.S., read The Overstory by Richard Powers. I found the interlocking stories haunting and the depth of tree information as thick as humus in the forest and dizzyingly fascinating. The story is rich, timely, achingly painful, and glorious.

Thank you for reading. And thank you for all that you do to help our shared home. Leave a comment and share what inspires you to do whatever it is you do to protect and conserve our precious natural resources.

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