Posted tagged ‘Earth Day’

“Our major obligation is not to mistake slogans for solutions.”

April 22, 2023

The day is ugly. It is cold and cloudy. The temperature will stay in the high 40s and low 50’s. My heat is cranking. Only Nala stays outside.

My morning started as each morning does. The dogs were excited I had lived through the night. Both of them jumped on me and the bed. I patted them at the same time, one hand for each, but they didn’t think it was enough. They got pushy. That was my sign to get up and face the morning. It was a mistake.

Henry gets excited and does circles. He taps the floor sort of rhythmically with his front paws. He stands on his back feet and jumps into the air while he waits for the door to be opened or his food to be served. This morning he jumped into the filled water bowl and upset it. All the water spilled on the rug by the door and across the kitchen floor. All of this was before my coffee.

I finished Fairy Tale, the Stephen King book, last night. I had tried to take my time toward the end, but I couldn’t wait.

When I was in Ghana, the world moved on without me, and I didn’t really notice. All of my energies went into training and learning to live in a very different country. The moon landing was when I was in Bawku for my live-in, when I was living with a Ghanaian family. I heard it on the radio. I had to imagine it. Woodstock was also during the summer of training. I was in Koforidua learning more language and student teaching. The first Earth Day came and went. I was living in Bolga and teaching my T 2’s, my second year students. I didn’t know about the Kent State shootings until much later. I was gifted with the Sunday Times, but it came late, months late, and in piles of three or four. I was overwhelmed. I skimmed at best.

Now I read two papers each morning. I watch the news, local and national. I watch MSNBC and CNN. I am too connected. I don’t want to know what I know if that makes sense. I need to lose myself into a book. I need to watch black and white science fiction movies with hideous monsters like the Claw, The Creeping Hand and From Hell it Came, that one was about the murdered man who turned into a tree, the Tabonga, to avenge his death. You can see the man’s feet at the bottom of the tree trunk. I need to find that one, but until I do, I’ll just be content watching Monster from Green Hell.

“The environment is where we all meet; where all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share.”

April 22, 2017

At 7:15 a couple of banging sounds at the window woke me up. It was a bird. It flew at the window a couple of times more then I whacked the window with my hand, and the bird flew away. I tried to go back to sleep, but a robo call at 7:45 was the end of my sleeping. Gracie, though, sighed and went back to sleep. Maddie never even woke up.

As for today’s weather, ditto yesterday’s. As for my plans for today, ditto yesterday’s.

I missed the first Earth Day. It happened during my time in Ghana. I read about it when the New York Times Week in Review was sent to me by Peace Corps Ghana. It was their way to keep us connected to what was happening at home. I admit I wasn’t all that interested in Earth Day. My daily life revolved around my students and Bolgatanga, my town, but in retrospect, I realize Ghanaians saved the Earth every day. They repurposed everything. My sandals had soles from old tires. My rice was wrapped in the New York Times compliments of Thomas who worked for me. Tin cans were recycled. My meat from the market was wrapped in leaves. Mammy lorries and buses never left the lorry park until all the seats and even the aisles were full of passengers though that always irritated me, the waiting time.

When I was a kid, we never thought twice about throwing everything in the trash. There were no recycle centers because none of us knew about recycling. The trash was put out on the curb once a week, picked up and willy-nilly thrown into the back of the trash truck. I liked to watch the trash being compacted by the truck. That was my only interest in trash.

My town encourages recycling, and I do my best, but I still feel helpless. So much is way beyond my control. Mr. Trump is not a friend of the Earth. That scares me.

Mother Earth: Cyndi Lauper

April 22, 2012

Don’t Go Near the Water: The Beach Boys

April 22, 2012

Where Do the Children Play: Cat Stevens

April 22, 2012

Big Yellow Taxi: Joni Mitchell

April 22, 2012

“There is hope if people will begin to awaken that spiritual part of themselves, that heartfelt knowledge that we are caretakers of this planet.”

April 22, 2011

The weather tries my patience. A sunny day gives me a spring in my step (couldn’t help myself with that one) and hopes of sitting on the deck with my eyes closed and my faced warm with sun, but that was yesterday. Today is cloudy though the weather predicted otherwise. I imagine somewhere else has my sunny day, and I’m not too happy about it.

Last night we had dinner at Captain Frosty’s which opens every spring. Our first dinner there always makes us feel as if spring is officially here despite the cold or the rain. I had fish and chips, and we shared onion rings, the thin ones which are mostly onion, not batter. The place was crowded with people standing around hoping for a table. They looked a bit like vultures as they sized up the booths to see how close the diners were to being finished. Our seats never got a change to get cold.

This morning after I got the papers I stood a while out front looking at the garden right next to my house. It is filled with flowers from bulbs I planted last fall. I didn’t know which bulb was planted where so I was surprised and pleased when the flowers bloomed. Their colors are rich and bright. The yellows are my favorites. I know their beauty will prompt more and more bulbs this fall.

Today makes me want to stay home and do nothing except read and maybe nap. One day a week a lethargy overtakes me, and I never fight it. It comes after a couple of frenzied days of chores and errands. I always think of it as a reward.

Today is Earth Day. I have always believed that you leave a place better than you found it, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with our planet. We deplete more and more resources, our wild animals and sea creatures become endangered when their habitats disappear or they’re hunted to near extinction. I recycle everything I can, but I still leave a huge carbon footprint as I live alone. I wear a sweatshirt in the winter and only keep the lamp in this room lit at night though my palm tree too is always lit, but it doesn’t matter. I use more resources than I should.

In Africa everything is recycled. My sandals were resoled using tire treads. My rice was wrapped in the Sunday New York Times while large leaves provided the wrapping for meat and other such goods. Everything I bought, except margarine and evaporated milk, was produced locally. I came home well intentioned knowing how little I really need. That got lost over the years. It’s time I remembered.

“Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money.”

April 22, 2010

Today is Earth Day. The first was forty years ago, and I missed it. Not long after, I read about Earth Day in the weekly review section from the New York Times. The Peace Corps used to send it to us so we could keep up with the world, but I already knew Earth Day. I was living in Ghana where Earth Day was every day. Nothing went to waste in Ghana.

If the soles of my sandals wore out, I brought them to the market where the shoe man re-soled them using old tires. The treads were worn, but those soles outlived the sandals. A friend gave me a year’s subscription to the New York Sunday Times. Four or five papers would arrive at once. When I had finished reading, Thomas, my house boy of sorts, took the papers and sold them to make extra money. Mine was the only market in Ghana where rice was sold wrapped in a cone made from the New York Times. Bucket baths were common especially during the dry season when water was turned off for days at a time. One whole bucket of water was good for a bath and a toilet flush at the end of the day. Even when I could shower, there was only cold water. I learned to shower quickly to make use of the first water from the pipes as it had been warmed by the sun. None of the chicken ever went to waste. The head and feet were boiled together and made great broth and a tasty base for cooking rice. Ghanaians sometimes ran out of beer because they were out of bottles in which to put the beer. Green Star beer bottles were sold in the market filled with palm or groundnut oil. During the spring rains, termites were fried and roasted, or made into bread. I was never a fan of bugs, cooked or uncooked.

Ghana was never paradise. It had trash heaps and open sewers. It had public toilets which were walls around holes in the ground and smelled God-awful. People tossed things anywhere. Mammy lorries spewed smoke and were never inspected. I saw accidents and people lying in the road. I saw Ghana in the best light and in the worst light.

I saw it all, and I brought the best home with me. Like the Ghanaians, I recycle. I save cans, plastic in all colors, newspapers, magazines, cardboard and bottles. I live by the maxim that you always leave a place better than when you found it.

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