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by Kevin H. Smith.
Native North and South American cultures, Egyptians, Hebrews, Greeks, Romans, The Druids of the British Isles, Asian cultures, Global Island cultures and early Americans from Europe all had something in common over several thousand years of existing on the Earth.
That commonality is that they honored the Mother Earth in a magnitude of ways, mostly centering on the bounty of the harvest, which sustained them throughout their lives.
These cultures understood the importance of taking care of the land that fed them, and for the most part were good stewards of the Mother Planet.
The world cultures lived as an agrarian whole community, for the most part, until the end of the 18th century when mankind started to invent machines that would take the place of manual labor, all for the sake of producing a product on a larger scale.
Actually, machines served the greed of mankind, but not everywhere in the world.
In 1820, Samuel Slater, an Englishman, came to the new United States and set up the first cotton mill in Massachusetts, marking the beginning of the Industrial Revolution (IR) in America.
Realizing the need for cotton produced a way of life in America that had far reaching and devastating repercussions to American culture that we still suffer from today.
I’m not going to go into the history of the IR in this article; however, it realized many successful advances in technology and the production of goods as a world-leading country, all in the name of advancing our status as a new nation.
Let’s make our way to 1970 when the pollution and industrial waste in America was at an all-time high. Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. senator from Wisconsin, decided to do something about the abuse. He proclaimed the first Earth Day to be recognized and celebrated on April 22 of that year.
Twenty million Americans stood up and protested the abuses of industry. It started small, but grew with immense growth over the next 20 years and by 1990 the movement had been proclaimed by the United Nations as Mother Earth Day, engaging over 200 million people in 141 countries worldwide.
Today, over a billion Earth citizens participate in honoring the planet, while continuing to bring awareness to the damages needing healed on a global scale.
What can you do on this Earth Day to join the many activists making a difference to heal the scarred land and seas bordering America?
In no particular order of importance, they include:
Plant a tree.
Ride a bike or walk to work.
Take a hike and enjoy being outside.
Fix any leaky faucets where you live or work.
Give up bottled water; use a reusable container instead.
Stop using plastic bags; cotton or an eco- friendly fiber is a better alternative.
Buy a piece of used or antique furniture for your home.
Start a compost pile.
Use less air conditioning; open your windows.
Plant a small or raised garden, or buy organic vegetables.
Install a solar energy source for your home.
Make personal pledges to lessen your environmental footprint.
Go sailing on the Chesapeake Bay and feel the power of the wind at work (no fossil fuel use).
If you’re a bill payer, go paperless.
Support an environmental group or organization by participating in its events or donate to its cause.
More opportunities abound than my little list, so make an effort to celebrate the interconnectivity of the natural world we share the planet with.
It starts with a step and becomes a journey – a journey that can bring joy to your life, knowing that something good for the Earth will happen because of your efforts.
Happy Earth Day 2017.
Kevin H. Smith is a freelance writer on home improvement, building and environmental issues. He has worked in the field of home improvement and restoration for more than 20 years. His column does not represent the opinions of the newspaper or its staff.
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