Earth Day isn’t about weaving a hair shirt, though it would enable me to recycle all my golden retriever fur. It’s not about singing Kumbaya around the campfire and filling the neighborhood with air and noise pollution. To our family it is a day to remember that we are only guests here. Most people, we hope, treat everyday like it’s Earth Day.
My family’s Earth Day tradition is cleaning the trailhead of one our favorite hikes. We have found some crazy things tucked along the edges of the parking lot of Ampersand Mountain. Some have been personal items that I had difficulty explaining to my son, which only reinforced the importance of wearing gloves. The deer carcass would have been easy to justify in nature, except its remains were still wrapped in a plastic bag. Beer cans and cigarette butts are sadly a normal sight.
Making changes in our lifestyle can be daunting. Sometimes all we need to do is make a small step. The Adirondack Green Circle is trying to help people take those steps so that every day can be about the earth. It can be as seemingly insignificant as bringing a canvas bag to the store to limit the production of plastic bags or as simple as learning where food comes from.
Where food comes from? If a product’s label takes a biochemist to decipher then we need to question what we are putting in our mouths.
For the second year, Adirondack Green Circle is holding its Wake Up Film Festival, showcasing documentaries directed at tracing our food and garbage.
Founder Gail Brill says, “We have lined up different movies that explain where our commercial food comes from. The first film will be appropriately shown on Earth Day, Thursday, at Pendragon. Food, Inc. demonstrates how broken our food system is. We will also have copies of Michael Pollan’s book Food Rules as well. Part of our mission is to promote local food so Jen Perry of Farm to Family Food Network will be there to talk about where to get local food.”
Brill explains a few common sense rules from Pollan’s book like, “If it comes from a plant, eat it; if it is made in a plant, don’t.” Some of the movies are not for the very young so check out the website for age recommendations. Brill has screened the films and found them age appropriate for high school and beyond.
Brill and some other members of Adirondack Green Circle are carrying their garbage around with them all this week to start a garbage conversation. w
“People say they throw their garbage away,” Brill continues. “Where is away? Away is in our ground water, away is in our ground, away is in our children.”
This experiment will culminate at the North Country Community College Junk to Funk Show. She encourages others to take the challenge and see what happens when “throwing garbage away” gets close and personal.
So there are some simple ways to help the environment, limit our trash and maybe leave a trailhead a bit cleaner for the next person.