Photo: Calling all Earth Month cynics

My mother bought this hoodie for me at a garage sale! (Credit: Leah Villalobos)

Are you cynical about Earth Day? (This year, not one person wished me "Happy Earth Day." No one even mentioned it!)

Is it just another day?

If you're a practicing environmentalist (I prefer to call us "humanitarians") Earth-y talk in April can get annoying.

My walk to work April 22 was like any other: I picked up garbage (a plastic Target shopping bag and a Starbucks paper cup with plastic lid), stopped for a direct trade coffee in my own mug and carried my lunch in my stainless steel tiffin.

Nobody paid attention. Nobody gave me a gold star.

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Or, did they?

Ever notice that when people know what you stand for, they freely share and/or confide their recent Earth-saving acts?

Exhibit A: a guy rode his bike — for me!

One week, my team of beach volleyball drop-in misfits (who never played power in junior high) introduced ourselves, including what we do for a living. The following week a teammate said "Instead of driving, I biked to volleyball — for you!"

Exhibit B: my acupuncturist changed his light bulbs — for me!

At our first follow-up visit, my acupuncturist exclaimed "Check it out. I changed my light bulbs!"

Exhibit C: my mom hunts down organic clothing at garage sales — for me!

My mom will jump out of a moving car to get to a garage sale!

Her once-suspect finds for my son (a "My First Christmas" sleeper made of 100 per cent polyester and treated with flame retardants) are now always certified organic cotton or locally made.

Doing what's best for humans and the planet isn't always convenient. But keep slogging away (even during symbolic Earth Month) — because they're watching!

By "they" I mean, your mom who loves her toxic cleaning products, your husband who won't give up his neon blue, 25-ingredient deodorant or the regular at your favourite coffee shop who always orders a large, three-quarters-full Americano in a disposable cup!

Let's assume Earth Day is more for them than for you.

Have the gold stars ready! One day, IT will sink in. And they'll want to share their news with YOU! (And tuck your judgement or cynicism deep into your Fair Trade, organic, Made in Canada, reusable, cloth bag.)

Has anyone ever shared their Earth-friendlier behaviour with you, looking for a pat on the back?

Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green

April 28, 2014

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Apr 29, 2014
2:43 PM

I think as we assume more responsibility for the earth, “Earth Day” has become silly because we need to do so much more than focus on the environment for one day. We talk about what we can do for the earth every week if not everyday in our family and find ways to act on it. For many people it is a value held dearly not a theme.

Apr 29, 2014
1:39 PM


I’m in Sydney Australia and I want to know where I can buy one of your sweaters that is on your FB site today “recyclers do it over and over and over”?

Many thanks


Apr 29, 2014
8:46 AM

I think Lindsay, it is because more and more these habits are becoming ‘normal’ — not just for you… but for others — which is amazing! We’ve got the reusable bags and mug down and even pay attention to the amount of packaging at the grocery store! On to bigger and more challenging things now! What our mattresses are made from next time we need one, for example!

Apr 29, 2014
7:08 AM

I have a problem with the whole Earth Day thing. For me, like you, everyday is earth day and I don’t think turning off your lights for an hour a year is a viable excuse that you “did something for the planet”…however…you are right in that the actions speak louder than a commemorative day and the more people who go about their daily lives picking up garbage and such will rub off on some people. Sometimes parades and walks and protests just give those not involved a reason to mock the hippies and indeed the media tends to showcase the more colorful in the crowd. Be true to yourself and keep on keeping on. Spread the news by example. We’ve got a long way to go.

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