Earth Day. Take a rest. Do zilch.
April 22nd is Earth Day – first celebrated in 1970 to increase awareness and appreciation of the Earth’s natural environment. As in the past, there will be a plethora of activities and many, many participants. Yet 43 years later, the Environment is not at the top of the agenda of any governments and certainly not of any major corporations. The message is not getting through. So what is there to do?
I have a radical suggestion of how to celebrate Earth Day, but it is not easy to implement. The idea is as old as the Old Testament, perhaps even older, going back to Mesopotamian civilizations. Once a year, let’s all give Mother Earth a massive worldwide holiday, sort of Sabbath, a day of rest, a day of inactivity, a day of not using any energy that requires the burning of carbon fuel.
On Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement for the Jews – everything comes to a standstill. This can be seen most clearly in Israel. The planes don’t fly, the stores are closed, the roads and highways are empty of cars, taken over by roller bladders, bicyclists, strollers, dogs and cats. And to my amazement the country survives. Even the GNP does not take a dive.
The proposal is that on Earth Day 2014 we all take a real rest. We do not go to work, we turn off the computers, televisions, even cell phones and we all go to the streets and socialize. We watch the birds, we have picnics on main highways, we play music and dance or just sit on balconies and porches and talk to the neighbours – maybe drink a beer or two. No multi-tasking allowed.
No need to create events for awareness, no need for speakers and Hollywood celebrities, no green washing. Simply a day of no action that requires any carbon burning energy and thus gives Mother Nature a real break. Good for planet earth and even better for our mental health. We travel only as far as human-powered devices such as bicycles allow us. And for those “A” types that simply must work, get a wheelbarrow, put a few seedlings in them and go find yourself a spot when you can plant them. Imagine the photo op of Fortune 500 CEOs pushing wheelbarrows.
I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Earth Day. Let’s forget GNP and focus on GHP – Gross Happiness Product! Pass it on! Who knows maybe a celebrity or two will hear about it and pass the message on theirTwitter accounts to their trillion subscribers and we just might, in a year or two, have an additional holiday on our calendars.