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Earth Day resolutions

Earth Day cleanup requires a bit more care. (Provided photo — Diane Chase)

It can seem challenging to overcome a pandemic while being environmentally friendly. We’ve been debating which product is safe for the environment while also effective at killing a virus. We’ve narrowed our choices to plain soap and water for washing/cleaning and rubbing alcohol for disinfecting. We’ve been gifted some extremely toxic chemicals that remain in our cupboard alongside some other rusty cans of unused disinfectant. I can’t seem to find a substitute for disposable gloves and garbage bags for a trail cleanup.

For many years, at the bequest of my daughter, we have added an Earth Day resolution to our annual cleanup. It continues to eliminate single-use plastic like toothpaste tubes, laundry detergent, and soft drink bottles. As we whittle away at our list, we discuss which roadside area to make part of our annual cleanup. Picking up our own garbage is bothersome. Picking up other people’s garbage is nasty. Picking up garbage during a pandemic makes me want to take a chemical decontamination shower. Yes, that is the conflict I face when trying to do something good while keeping my family safe.

Our cleanup has uncovered TVs and tires tossed into streams, in addition to beer cans and bottles. There is plenty of reflection when picking up people’s roadside trash. My daughter can’t fathom how someone willingly tosses a can out a car window. I’m more concerned that the person is drinking and driving.

If cleaning up after strangers is too nerve-racking, there are virtual ways to continue to educate on environmental best practices. One place to check out is the three-day online EarthDay.org climate summit. Each day has panels, discussions and speakers focusing on a main topic such as the Youth Summit, Education International and Restore Earth initiatives. There is also availability to search through a list of registered local events. Past activities and speakers also provide a wealth of information for all of us trying to keep earth inhabitable.

I understand it may sound cliche to say, “Every day is Earth Day,” but it’s true. Please continue to lean toward the positive changes, small and large. We can all make a difference. Stay safe.

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