April 24, 2008

Earth Day: an Editor’s Note ~ via Merete Mueller.

Today, April 22, is Earth Day.

And for the first time, it doesn’t feel all that different from any other day of my year. Thanks to growing media coverage of environmental conditions (this week’s New York Times Sunday Magazine was devoted to all things eco) and the green movement’s momentum, I think about my impact on the environment every day.

Putting the New York Times aside, I’m sure that my growing environmental awareness also has a lot to do with with the fact that I work with Waylon, who tries to never miss an opportunity to walk the talk, even when it may seem extreme (but, I can hear Waylon’s voice saying in my head, “the consequences that we all face if we don’t changing our lifestyles are also pretty extreme!”) To-go cups and food packaging are banned at the elephant offices by force of peer-pressure. On work lunches, we remind each other to ask whether or not the sushi is sustainable. Recently, I won an argument with Waylon (not a common occurrence) when he accused my jeans of not being mindfully-sourced.

“They’re vintage!” I shot back, eco-proudly.

But it’s a fine line between eco-zeal and eco-snobbery, which only ends up ostracizing people. And we’ll never make big changes as long as the mindful life is confined to a privileged few. Right now, I’m visiting with my mom in South Florida—which I wouldn’t exactly call the epicenter of mindfulness. There’s a lot of strip malls, a lot of traffic, a lot of people wandering around with vague, glassy-eyed expressions looking for the next thing to buy or the next person to flip off while driving through a stop sign at full speed.

But last night, the full moon, rising like an orange balloon over the ocean, was stunning. And the open-air, organic markets overflow with mangoes and coconuts, and people just as eagerly discussing global warming and liberal politics as anywhere else. And here, as everywhere, there’s plenty of opportunities to be mindful. “I sound just like Waylon!” I think (with some panic) when I hear myself ask the woman bagging groceries not to double bag, because I don’t want to waste paper. Or when I ask the waiter whether the salmon avocado role is sustainable. Small steps, and I’ve got a ways to go (like remembering to bring my own re-usable bag to the market), but together we’re gaining momentum—not a moment too soon.

PS: We only have one week left of ad selling for the Summer issue. We need all the support you can muster—email [email protected] to inquire about web and print ads (and if you have an ad ready, and can get it to us fast, you may be in line for some ‘remainder’ discounts.) Also, we’re offering blog-contributor spots to elephantjournal.com. Contact us if you’d like to share your daily/weekly/monthly mindfulness thoughts.

Happy Earth Day! ~ Heather Mueller, ed.

{Published: April 22, 2009)

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