The Earth Day Challenge I Propose To You Isn’t What You Might Think

As I sit here writing this, the birds are bellowing from the treetops right outside my window. I just filled up the bird bath in the garden and there’s a magpie causing mischief and splashing most of the water onto the lawn. How rude (by rude I mean incredibly endearing).

I’ve just come in from a brief bask in the sunshine (the lizard that I am) and it gave me all the soul food that I needed to feel solace after a stressful day. It always does. It’s the one thing I can always depend upon to heal an anxious ailment or mental misfortune: nature. Night or day, rain or shine (though shine is my preferred flavour), it is without a doubt the best universal medicine.

I’ve got only a few weeks (by weeks I mean weekends) to pack my house up and move (for what I’m sure is the millionth time) and a short pause outside gave me the energetic reset that I was craving. Feet to soil, skin soaked in golden rays, hair hot on my head and sweat collecting on my brow. After having myself wrapped up in sorting, decluttering, organising, labeling, and some DIY maintenance, it was a welcome change of pace.

Did you know that it’s Earth Day tomorrow? I decided I’d make it Earth Weekend instead. Fuck it. The planet needs an extra day of mindfulness amongst humanity. I encourage you to do the same – celebrate with me – if you catch this on Saturday.

Over the years, I’ve done various “environmentally-friendly” projects or events on Earth Day and all have been lovely. From beach cleans to tree planting to wildlife surveying; you name it, I’ve probably taken part and got the t-shirt to prove it. But this year, it’s a bit different. I’ve reached the tipping point.

See, over the past couple of years, I’ve been making steps towards living more sustainably and consciously. These days, I make every effort within my means to try to do right by the planet in my lifestyle choices. So, this Earth Day for me wasn’t about deciding to suddenly stop using plastic bags or use less water. For me, the focus is on something greater; something that I read that’s been emblazoned onto my retina ever since my eyeballs soaked the words up last week. For me, it’s about health. My health, everyone else’s health and the planet’s health. Because believe it or not, it’s not a “new-agey” thing to boldly state that they, actually, are all connected. Let me explain.

I’ve been reading the most fascinating book on one of my favourite topics: economics & money. I think it should be on every person’s reading list and I could not be more grateful that it was recommended to me. It is Charles Eisenstein’s Sacred Economics (Money, Gift & Society In The Age of Transition).

There are few books I’ve devoured so wholeheartedly and even fewer that have offered such abundance of back-to-back revelations that leave the reader essentially dumbfounded and deep in contemplation with each page turn. If I had to recommend one book that I thought might change the world if the masses read it, this would be it.

But before I get too heavily into economics and the mere threat of it makes you go back to scrolling your socials instead, let me offer some food for thought from said aforementioned read. To put it into context, the book talks about how money transitioned from being a useful tool for trade between populations too large to know each other personally to becoming the driving factor (or really, the misconception of scarcity) behind all of our environmental destruction. Aren’t you sold already? Fascinating.

Chapter 3 covers the problems that come with property; our insatiable desire to own and the deeper meaning behind that drive. Man did not make the Earth, so therefore how can he possibly be entitled to claim it as his own? And deeper: what benefits come from owning a specific plot of land, for example, and thus binding oneself to a place that may not be able to offer what the soul needs as it grows? It serves only to further isolate us; from the persons we might only hope to become, each other and the environment.

In the few communities still attempting to live harmoniously with their surroundings, there is the line of thinking that ‘self’ includes everything else in that ecosystem: your family, your community, the flora and fauna. It is not a case of “I am healthy but my child is sick.” but rather, “My family is sick”. Likewise, a polluted river or forest surrounding that place that you call home calls for the statement, “My village is sick.” It is not something outside of yourself. Much like it would be ridiculous to be struggling with lung cancer and claim, “Oh, it’s just my lungs. The rest of me is perfectly healthy!” It is equally ridiculous to think that our environment as separate to us.

We’re too clothed, too immersed in our phones and too caught up dwelling on the past or anxiously deliberating over some future scenario too often to see the simplicity of life and what is essential for us to not only survive, but thrive. It’s awful and the real reason that we don’t take greater care of the planet. Over time, it has caused a gross detachment from that line of thinking that we are only healthy if our environment is healthy. We have completely isolated ourselves as if we are self-sufficient.

Only, we’re not, are we? We need clean air to breathe, plenty of plants to eat, clean water to drink, dark skies to sleep and biodiverse ecosystems to ease our anxious minds. These aren’t opinions. They are facts. Yet our actions continue illogically and with insanity in the opposite direction all for the sake of monetary gain and what we wrongly thing it will bring us: happiness and success.

The moment that we switched from communty-orientated to self-orientated is the moment everything went downhill. It should be that more for me is great because it then means more for you (Why would I hold onto excess to that which I need? Surely I would give away what I don’t need?) but we don’t see wealth distribution happen like that because no amount of money is ever enough. We don’t understand that our happiness and wellbeing is directly correlated to that of our planet as a whole. Imagine the mass bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef as brain cancer or deforestation of the Amazon as lung cancer and you begin to look at things differently; see the interconnectedness. Without them, their is no us. Are we not smart enough to realise this prior to it being too late?

I place before you two roads diverged in a yellow, smog-filled wood and I need you to take the one less traveled, because it’s the only one that will save us. You are a part of me just as much as I am you. Let’s do this for each other while we still have a chance.

I encourage you, this Earth Day weekend to shift your thinking outside of yourself and into your ecosystem. It is very sick, but you have the strength required to save it. Your actions, your opinions and your voice have undeniable power. Use them wisely.


Fantasy will set you free.

As some of you know, it was Earth Day earlier this week. I’ve been thinking that whilst we can indeed make changes like saying ‘NO!’ to plastic bags and buying local produce, we need to move away from the idea that in order to be more environmentally-friendly, we must go back a step. Living by candle-light and refusing to drive a car are behind the times. That’s like giving a new mother an all-singing, all-dancing hi-tech, lightweight stroller, only to then take it away from her and give her a massive, heavy, wooden one that she is expected to push her twins around all day in whilst running errands. Elaborate analogy, but I hope you get my point. With the incredible advances in the technology of renewable energy resources in recent years, why can’t we have our cake and eat it too?


Open your eyes and see that human beings undergo mental expansion at a phenomenal rate. And it is only becoming more rapid. Talk to any teenager around now and it is likely that he or she is way more switched on than you and I were back then. With this evolution comes the capacity to improve the way our society functions, provided the cognitive skills are used beneficially.

When I am feeling my most frustrated and hopeless, a good friend of mine tells me that I am ‘like a dog chewing on the furniture again’. This is the perfect analogy for what happens when we are not encouraged to create. I don’t mean this in the surface-level artistic sense. You don’t have to be a musician or a painter to be an artist, and you certainly don’t have to be either of those to create. Designing an expandable shoe which can offer sole-comfort to a child for 5 years is a practical masterpiece. Being a key player in making renewable energy resources ‘the norm’ is incredible. And a chef trying to make eating insects more palatable to the ‘western world’, quite frankly deserves a gold medal. My point is that when we are playing to our strengths, we are able to create the seemingly magical.

I am not hating on celebrating the Earth, doing a beach clean-up, hosting a sacred ritual of the trees in the forest or living without any electronic devices for a week. By all means, clean up the six-pack rings that kill marine life, take your shoes off and walk in the dirt and focus on your writing for a week – pencil and paper like the old times, should you wish to! I am simply asking: why don’t we progress beyond what John McConnell proposed back in 1969 – a day that we could all stop and focus on peace and respect for the Earth – and make it daily practice? Why can’t we look at all the issues we have causing the global scale scum-production in the first place and alter them before we have to run around picking up the litter and planting more seeds? Do you understand what I’m saying? As any skin cancer specialist will tell you: wear sunscreen as prevention is key. The same thing applies here. Don’t spend one day a year trying your best to clean up the mess we live in, only to revert to old bad habits the other 364. Don’t accept that things have to be this way.

Every single person that reads this is talented in one way or another. A society which tells us there is no cap on our growth and potential is one which benefits us all. I encourage you to lobby for the changes that we so desperately need. And work on those ridiculously farfetched ideas you have that seem unrealistic. Nurture those dreams, play with every detail and start to think of who could help you make them happen. Someone out there will appreciate what you have to offer; usually more than you initially think. All hail global communication please.

I think what I’m really trying to get at here is that we must change the way we do things. Think radically and dream big because nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it. I love John McConnell for his dream back in the 60’s, but think that now we’re in 2015 we need to go a step further. Speak up for the global-scale changes that need to be made and let yourself create that next great thing.