Earth Day — a day created to raise awareness about the environment and appreciation for our Mother Earth — has been celebrated in the United States since 1970, and worldwide since 1990. Many pinpoint that first 1970 Earth Day as the beginning of the modern environmental movement. Today Earth Day is sponsored by the Earth Day Network and celebrated in almost 200 countries, with over 500 million people participating in public events and private education across our wonderful world. In 2009 the U.N. even got involved, declaring April 22 International Mother Earth Day.
I grew up during the era of heavy public service announcements. Whether it was the famous “this is your brain on drugs” ad, or a short segment about energy waste, there was always some message to be learned during the commercial breaks. I especially remember the PSAs about water consumption, and how wasteful much of America was while we were leisurely brushing our teeth or taking long, hot showers. As a conscientious child I tried to do what little I could — our family recycled and I tried not to be wasteful. But, unfortunately, as an adult I have slipped into some lazy patterns. When I bought my home six years ago I ventured out into the country where we don’t get trash service. As a result, Chris and I (actually, it’s usually just Chris) have to borrow my parents’ truck once every couple of weeks and haul our trash to our county landfill.
Most people think it’s kind of strange when I say this, but Stafford County actually has a really nice landfill. It’s very well organized, the staff is friendly (at least compared to most county-level government workers), and the facility also makes free mulch and accepts cell phone donations for volunteer organizations. Plus, it doesn’t really stink the way you’d expect it too. They’ve even planted some daffodils near the exit! The bad news is, apparently a lot of other people like the landfill too. Due to our work schedule we can only go on the weekend, and it’s usually teaming with customers. Because of the crowd, at some point along the way we stopped recycling our paper, plastic, aluminum, and glass. I’m ashamed to admit it, but it’s all just been going in the same trash bag.