It is not by mistake that this year and last, my voyage has me circumnavigating the globe over April 22nd. Earth Day. However, there was a time in the not so distant past, I didn’t think much about the health of the planet or the majority of its inhabitants. There are a lot of things I didn’t care about that are now important to me.
Friends & colleagues are likely cocking their heads and making a Scooby Doo-esque ‘hhrruuh’ kind of noise. The me they know spent two years heading up the hotel’s sustainability council. She recycles, ardently supports non-profits and on her last day of work, emptied a file drawer containing seven pairs of vegan shoes.
The shifting of priorities began when I started asking seemingly simple questions like, “What is Al Gore talking about?” The more answers I got, the more questions that arose and the more appalled I became. At the government, at corporations and with my own behavior. The only way to help in solving the problem was to become the solution and grabbing at the low-hanging fruit was the logical place to begin.
Refusing plastic grocery bags, boycotting bottled water and minimizing waste was the easy stuff. Downsizing possessions and eliminating disposable purchases from my repertoire soon followed. The freedom from stuff was addictive and from clothing to cutlery, surrounding myself with meaningful expressions of what I value, the clutter-free clarity remaining is priceless.
The evolution has been a work in progress and during the week of my birthday 2009, I adopted a vegan lifestyle. It didn’t begin as a stand against global warming; it was physical, spurring from how I wanted to nourish my body. It hasn’t always been socially comfortable or globally accepted. But after learning about the cruelty of factory farming and the environmental impact of animal agriculture, every birthday I celebrate a lifestyle choice that is now very dear to me.
It shouldn’t come as a complete shock that I previously disregarded the environment. For years I’ve shared similar habits in regard to my own personal care. My healthy diet for years has been in direct contrast to my rock star tendencies. I’ve been attempting to pacify the unseen powers of wellness by offering up a wheatgrass bargaining chip and thus far have succeeded. There is however a point of no return. And my fear is that it will be crossed.
I’ve gotten enough answers and pleading ignorance is no longer a viable option. With all certainty I know I’m as individually responsible for taking care of this planet, as I am my own personal wellbeing. Because of this, my Earth Day gift to myself and to Mother Earth is to let go of my bender alter ego and give up drinking for good. It will not only help preserve my body, it will save on the recycling of dozens upon dozens of future wine bottles. Recycling is good. No-cycling is better. Healthy longevity is best and it’s a decision I look forward to celebrating each and every April 22nd.