By Pauline Benetti
Southwest Organization for Sustainability
Why celebrate Earth Day? It is amazing given the gravity of the consequences that we need to be reminded, but it is true. Business as usual is too easily and comfortably slipped into. There is no Planet B, at least not in the short run and not without a lot of science. And in the meantime, life on Planet A is becoming increasingly punishing. So, we celebrate Earth Day as a yearly (at least) reminder that we must change our ways both with individual and collective acts to avoid the worst.
Regarding individual acts, how many of the following acts for 2021 can we each check off?
• Change all your light bulbs to LED.
• Plug large electronics into a smart power strip.
• Get an energy audit.
• Switch to reusable water bottles.
• Install a low-flow showerhead.
• Install a toilet buddy.
• Recycle gray water.
• Compost your food and yard waste.
• Grow your own food.
• Shop at your local Pagosa Farmers Market.
• Recycle glass, metal, plastic, paper.
• Deny all plastic bags.
• Shop at our local thrift stores.
• Purchase sustainable toothbrush.
• Switch from paper towels to reusable rags.
• Switch to recycled paper or bamboo paper toilet paper.
• Use native birdseed in your feeder.
• Install a solitary beehive “hotel.”
• Plant native plants.
We all know that even if we can check off all of them, that is not enough; there remain the collective acts, the ones that governments and nations move on, or don’t. And we know that government responds to the voice of “We the People” if there are enough of us speaking.
So, Earth Day reminds us that “We the People” must speak and that involves not allowing business as usual to take over; it involves action, involvement; it involves our time and our passion. We must ask, “Am I engaged in the work of saving Planet A?” A possibly uncomfortable question, but one we are reminded of on a yearly basis, at least, when we celebrate Earth Day.
So this year, 2021, in this place, Pagosa Springs, we will celebrate Earth Day on Saturday with the coming together of an amazing number of organizations, businesses and individuals in a show of solidarity and support for the tremendous task before us. Come see how these Earth Day participants each in their own way also participate in the solution.
Find us along the Riverwalk loop from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 24, beginning at Town Hall, following the Riverwalk and returning to Town Hall via Hot Springs Boulevard, and be greeted by your friends and neighbors with give-aways, information, invitations and fun handouts. For the kids: Come dressed in Earth Day-inspired costumes, join in fun activities and win prizes.
There are more than 30 participants so far.
A thank you in advance to all our attendees whom we know will (at a minimum) practice social distancing and possibly wear face coverings and will definitely take out what they bring in and in so doing enjoy a beautiful day in Pagosa Springs.