~ by Julia Gerwe, Global Sisters Report
This year’s Earth Day theme is “Invest in Our Planet.” EarthDay.org which sets the annual theme and serves as the “world’s largest recruiter to the environmental movement,” elaborates:
Earth day is the day to take action not just because you care about the
natural world, but because we all live on it.
Every one of us needs a healthy Earth to support our jobs, livelihoods,
health and survival, and happiness. A healthy planet is not an option –
it is a necessity.
I firmly believe that we all carry a responsibility to live more sustainably on this Earth.
“Sustainability” has its origins as an ecological concept referring to how biological systems endure, remaining divers. Now, however, sustainability is commonly used “to describe the viability of interdependent human and natural systems over time,” as the North American Association for Environmental Education writes in its “Guidelines for Excellence: Community Engagement
Further, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency  asserts, “Sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment.” Sustainability is, in short, living responsibly and living well.
Unfortunately, the science has been telling us for decades that our pace of life and rate of growth are not sustainable. This is the world we inherit. Besides metaphorically hard to swallow, our contributions to the current climate crisis as a species (however unintentional they may be) can also be difficult to comprehend amid the haze of a hundred-billion-dollar fossil fuel industry and sympathetic structures and systems that bolster extractive ways of life.
However, the story of the day and the narrative promoted by this year’s Earth Day theme is simple: Individuals have power.
fact, a September 2020 report  from the Stockholm Environment Institute and Oxfam cited that the world’s wealthiest 10% were responsible for almost half of global emissions in 2015. Who are the world’s wealthiest 10%?
Anyone with an annual income of at least $38,000
What can the world’s wealthiest do with their power?
On a macro level, companies, governments, policies and practices need to change. We know that as individuals, we voted not lonely with our ballots, but with our wallets. This is what investing in our planet looks like.
Investing in our planet can also look like simplicity, connection and hope. By living more simply – namely, consuming and traveling less – we directly and indirectly emit less greenhouse gases.
But what about connection? What about hope?
Because I am connected to my local community, I prioritize buying locally grown and made products. Because I love my global community, I try to do conscious research before buying new clothing to ensure that those making the clothing are treated justly and the materials are sourced sustainably,
In this way connection lends itself to hope, which inspires action.
This Earth Day, I challenge everyone to follow this trajectory from connection to hope and to action. Just start by getting some dirt under your fingernails!
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