Will We Care About the Earth in May?
This Bactrian camel lives in the Miami zoo. Only 800 live in the wild still.
This Bactrian camel lives in the Miami zoo. Only 800 live in the wild still.

Every spring we go through a litany of environmental cause days. Last Friday was World Water Day, Saturday marked Earth Hour, Monday, April 22 will be the Grand Daddy, Earth Day, and finally Arbor Day is April 26.

All of these days and others are important, educating youth and adults alike about the need to become more environmentally conscious. But one has to wonder, will we care about the Earth in May?

It’s really convenient to be an environmentalist in the moment. People feel good about their small acts, as they should. After all, celebrating small steps together is how people make change happen. Change is often a battle of inches fought doggedly over years rather than sudden moments in time.

Changing a country’s consumption culture is entirely different. Shrinking habits, becoming more mindful of air and car travel, eating local foods, etc. are not acts that most Americans are willing to embrace wholesale. So we have our day(s) of feel good, then burn Rome the other 360+ days of the year.

But you can see change does happen. Consider how sodas affect health, and their negative impact on the environment. For the past eight years, soda consumption in the United States has declined, an example of slow steady progress.

If our culture intends to adapt to the climate change, our efforts need to increase. First of all, let’s not poo-poo the small acts taken. Instead, let’s build upon them.

We should take permanent small steps. Yes we can turn out the lights for an hour, but perhaps next we can make one small lifestyle change to evolve our personal lifestyles, cultures, and economy.

One of the most important factors in my recent purchase or a Subaru XV Crosstrek was gas mileage. I’m averaging in the upper 20s and 30s with mileage depending on D.C. travel, even better than my older hybrid. That was a step.

An next step for me is getting the permanent cup from Starbucks and stop using paper ones. Yes, I’ll have to clean the cup every day, but it’s a small price to pay. I also use the electronic app to pay religiously, cutting my use of paper money.

Small steps. We need many of them, but it has to start with a few, and public conversations about them.

What do you think? And will you care about the environment in May?


  • This is a great post. I sort of lost faith in Earth Day for the same reason I kind of get a little cynical about the Christmas season. Caring about the earth or people for one day is fine, but we can do so much better. I hope all of these “days” aren’t diluting the actual importance of the message, but I fear they might be.

    • I feel like a lot of it comes down to engineering. If these campaigns are awareness one and done campaigns, then they don’t do much. But if they are built to encourage long lasting change, even if they revolve around just one small lifestyle tweak per participant, then we have something good.

      Thanks for coming by and weighing in, Margie!

  • Last year I did a good job of using tap water in one of those Brita filter pitchers. My soda consumption went down and I didn’t miss it. I even managed to buy a set of replacement filters.

    Sadly, the last replacement filter ran out in December and I’ve not gotten any more. I’m back to buying bottled water and soda. ugh.

    You’ve inspired me to order a new set of filters. Thanks!

    • Well, that just made this post worth the effort. Thank you for sharing this story, Brian. And I’ll bet you felt better sans the sodas, too!

  • Enjoyed the post, Geoff. On the few occasions I drink out of a plastic water bottle, vs filling up from the filtered water at home, I’ll throw it in my trunk or bag to get home to recycle it.

    I’ve recently started asking for my coffee from a mug vs the paper cup.

    I did go with the V6 Camaro because it can do 29MPG on the highway…well, that, and my wife found out how fast I had the V8 Camaro, but let’s go with the green benefits here.

    I do tend to hold onto things longer, use natural light in the house, and plan my vehicle trips to maximize that gas usage. But we can always get better. I do not think I’ll EVER get to composting, though!

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