Earth Day needs to be every day

Published 2:34 pm Friday, April 22, 2022

Earth Day was celebrated Friday. It is one of those days that many Americans don’t observe or give little thought to. But we should.
Carter County has some of the prettiest landmarks in the country. We are home to two state parks. We have beautiful Watauga Lake, which not only generates power, but provides great recreational opportunities such as boating, skiing, and fishing. Also, we have two rivers — Watauga and Doe — and several streams. Not to mention walking and biking trails and small community parks which provide recreational opportunities and places to spend some leisure time.
Yet, it is sad that Keep Carter County Beautiful volunteers spend many hours picking up trash along our roadways, riverbanks, and in our parks because so many don’t appreciate the place we call home. It’s nothing to them to toss a soft drink can or cup, a fast food wrapper or bag out their car window or drop it by the wayside. It then becomes litter, and litter is unsightly.
Putting the trash in bins, and not in our rivers and streams, is just one thing we can do to help keep the Earth healthy.
Or how about shopping local? With farmers markets and produce stands, both big and small, popping up as the weather gets a bit warmer, there’s never an excuse to not buy the food we need that grows right here in our community or nearby.
How about, if possible, using a bicycle to commute today. Or, what the heck, just go for a bike ride. Take a walk; soak in all the beauty Mother Earth provides.
It’s easy to look out your window every day and realize the beauty that surrounds us. The robins are back and nesting, ducks are walking around downtown again, soon with ducklings in tow.
With each passing year, we understand more about the negative effects of our changing climate — and how it is influenced by the increase in greenhouse gases. Even if each of us isn’t producing more emissions, there are more of us humans than ever in our community, state, nation and world, causing further harm to our atmosphere. It’s easy to feel a little paralyzed, as each of us can expect to play but a minuscule role in the solution. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t consider doing what we can, as little as our contributions might seem in the bigger scheme of things. While it’s unclear who first uttered the phrase, “Think Globally, Act Locally,” there’s a reason it has stuck around to the point where even many who agree with it also get weary of hearing it. And that’s because our individual actions, considered together, can create meaningful change and give us a sense of empowerment and encouragement that there are some things we can do to make a difference.
At home, being more mindful about setting the thermostat helps, as does improving insulation and taking other steps toward saving energy, such as buying more efficient appliances whenever an old one breaks down or wears out. Also, try to cut down on what you throw away: It helps to recycle aluminum and metal cans, paper and glass.
Plant a tree. Planting trees both removes carbon dioxide from the air and provides welcome shade during the hottest months.
On Earth Day, and any day, it could be a good idea to listen, learn and keep the conversation going. Preserving our world for the generations to come is of vital importance. And while every day should be Earth’s, let’s make a concerted effort to keep the conversation going, to keep it clean, and to appreciate its beauty and benefts.
Earth is important. We only have one.

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