My four year old was telling us today that she wanted to celebrate Earth Day every day. I thought this was so sweet and asked her ways in which we could do this. She listed off few examples from taking care of our yard to recycling. We also explained to her that taking care of people on this Earth is a great way to celebrate Earth Day, too.
The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970 and meant to show support for environmental conservation. When people talk about environmental conservation, composting, eating organic, biodiversity, protecting the natural ecosystems, zero-waste etc, often a picture gets painted of these people as hippies, tree-huggers, or even so far as elitism.
However, this ain’t just for hippies anymore.
The best examples are that of the latest egg recall and romaine lettuce recall. The way in which our current agriculture system operates, these outbreaks are going to continue to happen again and again and again. Here’s a whole evidence-based book linking our global and industrialized agriculture system to food borne outbreaks, here.
So how can we protect ourselves?
Find a local farmer, farmer’s market, and ask them how they grow their food and/or animals.
Not sure what answers to ask your farmer or good responses?
- Q: How do you fertilize? A: Composted Cow Manure (not from CAFO’s), cover-crops, no-till, etc. more information here
- Q: How to handle pests and diseases? A: Crop rotation, nutrient management, organic matter, conservation and natural enemies, proper sanitation, etc.
- Q: What do your animals eat? A: CHICKENS ARE NOT VEGETARIANS and if they are only fed a vegetarian diet they are not getting all the essential amino acids needed to stay healthy. This also means that they are not as “free range” as their label may suggest. Cow’s cannot always be 100% grass-fed, however marketers are very clever in how they label such product. If your farmer is grazing their cattle but feeding them hay/alfalfa in the winter this is normal. Cattle should not be fed grain and/or corn because they are not able to digest it properly.
We can also look for Fair Trade products and look for sustainable growing practice labels (regenerative organic, biodynamic, organic, beyond organic, animal welfare approved, etc.)
So yes, Earth Day can and should be celebrated every day. Shopping local and connecting with your famers is a great way to do this, along with increasing efforts to minimize food waste, food packaging, giving back to people who are not as fortunate as we are, and advocating to reduce poverty and inequities of our current system.
Cheers to Conscious Living,