The Real Earth Day CelebrationBy:
We were so excited to make signs that morning at Grandpa Paul's house in Brooklyn.
His was really clever.
"More Braniacs, less Maniacs"
My husband, daughter and I had just arrived from our home in southern New Hampshire. We were headed out to the People's Science March on Earth Day in Manhattan. The mission of the march as I understood it, was to bring forth the importance of science, as many feel that it is being ignored with rash political comments and new Federal government policies being introduced.
Given that the march took place on Earth Day, I felt especially called to bring awareness to global climate change, a scientific phenomena that is and will continue to have a huge impact on our quality of life. I actually had been wanting to do something for Earth Day for months, and it felt perfect that we could have the opportunity to march.
My sign was, "Our health = the Earth's health."
My daughter had created her own sign that she strapped to her back that read, "Plant more trees."
As we walked down the street towards the gathering crowd, I felt elated that my daughter could experience her first march. Many people gave her approving nods as they read her sign, and things were looking up, for my plans of our family becoming a marching family. But then, just as the rain started to fall, the amount of people and noise increased, in a sort of beautiful Manhattan kind of way. Finally we were in a moving river of people, squished in the middle, with no view for an eight year old, except a bunch of adult legs.
Given that my daughter is not really into large crowds and noise, she looked at me doubtfully, as if to say, "Do we really have to do this Mom?"
I tried to distract her with the ladies who were singing just ahead of us. One lady had a flute, another had a tambourine, and about a dozen ladies marched arm in arm, as our official chorus leaders for the day. We belted out "This land is your land this land is my land," and I cried realizing how important this song is for our country right now. After a few songs we moved on and tried to spot as many signs as possible with the word "poop" on them; we found two in relationship to science.
As you may have guessed, we didn't really stay in the march much longer, and I can't say that we will be returning to another march as a family any time soon. But that is not where my story ends.
The next day, my husband, daughter and I went out for a little stroll through a cute Brooklyn neighborhood. I saw a toy store and decided to go in, thinking we could find something.
To my horror, everything in the store was made out of plastic. As a family, we have had many discussions over dinner about plastic and how terrible it is for the earth. My daughter quickly found two things that she could absolutely not live without; packaged up little pieces of plastic, screaming garbage and waste to me through all the pink and glitter.
I took a deep breath, and my husband said, "Honey, remember, we don't really want to get a ton of plastic things. They aren't good for the earth."
And as my daughter held her box of chalk hair color tool kit in her right hand, she looked down, and saw all the plastic involved in this little piece of joy for her. She put the kit down with a big frown. There was no hiding her disappointment. However within minutes, she was skipping and singing down the street after we left the store.
So, while I can't say that we have a marching family, I can say that we celebrated Earth Day, the day after the official April 22nd, in the most real way possible.
Yesterday my daughter asked me, "Are you going to leave us a clean planet, or is it going to be wrecked?"
I replied, "Honey, I will do everything possible to leave you a clean planet!"
So, I invite you, parents, everyone, please join me, and let's make every day Earth Day.
Snatam Kaur is an American singer, peace activist and author raised in the Sikh and Kundalini Yoga tradition. She grew up in the presence of her spiritual teacher, Yogi Bhajan, learning the essence of Naad Yoga, a form of yoga focusing on sacred sound. At the core of this practice is an essential experience of peace and healing which helps her music be accessible to all people. Her book Original Light is a compassionate and supportive guide to creating a daily spiritual practice. To find out more about her book and online course visit snatamkaur.com.