Thursday, April 23, 2009

Earthday – or should I say Earthweek???

The first time that I had ever heard about Earthday was in 1991. I was living in Toronto and I was riding my bike up Yonge Street to go to work. It was late in the afternoon so all the Earthday celebrators had finished their day, but their work remained for many days to come. From the waterfront of the city all the way to the most northerly subway station – a distance of several miles – all of Yonge Street’s sidewalks were colourful decorated with thousands of chalk art designs. The next day there was a small story in the newspaper at the back of the ‘Community’ section.

Now, eighteen years later, this one-day event has grown into a weeklong event filled with many different community activities. You would have to be blind and deaf not to hear all the talk on the radios and television news programs and see all the posters in shop windows and street poles advertising all of these events. It has been truly inspiring to witness the birth of this global environmental consciousness that is waking in all of our hearts!!!

A friend of mine emailed a list of community events that took place just last weekend. Joanne and I decided to help out with a tree-planting event, so we put on our gardening clothes before we went.

Many families were bustling about, visiting all the environmental displays that had been put up. There was one area that had a few clowns, making dogs out of balloons, magicians and face painters. All the young girls were decorated with colourful displays of flowers on their cheeks.

It was an absolute pleasure to watch all the young children enjoying themselves in the sunshine with a shovel in one hand and a sapling tree in the other.

The organizers of the tree planting were handing out a few different species of trees. Each species is indigenous to this part of the country – meaning that these species had been here since the last ice age and had not been brought to this continent by the first early settlers. Joanne and I planted a few Cottonwood trees.

Because the saplings were very small – I felt like I was planting a twig into the ground – we had to surround them with wood chips so people would be able to see where the trees were.

As you can see, there were lots of people helping out throughout the afternoon. The plan was to expand the future forest by about fifty feet, along the banks of the Thames River. I would estimate that a length of ½ km was reforested with this effort. I didn’t realize it until I looked at this picture more closely, that it looks just like a road construction crew – LOL – with one person working and everyone else watching!

Eventually, someone notices that the little girl needs some help and offers some assistance.

I think that it is very important for all of us to realize that we all need to be a part of the coming change, to be leaders and helpers for the next generation.


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