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Celebrating Earth Day the Charlotte Way

As a Pagan, it's part of my spiritual practice to do what I can to preserve the natural connections I have with the planet and its environmental systems. Earth Day--today!--is always a good reminder to keep up the work and a time for inspiration and encouragement. While most other celebrations and events have been postponed or cancelled, fortunately, we can still celebrate Earth Day no matter where we are and even if we're completely alone.

To celebrate today--the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, I sat in on a virtual presentation by EarthOptimismCLT. I like their focus on hope for the planet and practical things we can do rather than just gloom-and-doom statistics and predictions. Warnings are important, but they tend to make me feel paralyzed and helpless, which doesn't do anyone--or the planet--any good. The presentation focused on local efforts in the Charlotte, NC, area to protect, conserve and heal the planet. You can watch roughly 45-minute presentation at this YouTube link, or visit the EarthOptimismCLT Facebook page.

Local sponsors included some of my favorite organizations like the Carolina Raptor Center, TreesCharlotte and the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation. So what did I learn? Well, some of the info was familiar, such as reminders to plant more native plant species and how the City of Charlotte is investing in more renewable energy for its vehicles and mass transit. New info I learned included why shade-grown coffee is more sustainable, from the owners of local Summit Coffee Co.; how a tool from the Osprey Initiative is helping volunteers clear more litter from Charlotte-area waterways; what to do if you come across a baby bird--it's ok to place younger birds back in the nest, and no, the parents cannot "smell" humans and will not reject the hatchling/nestling--and, finally, how to have positive conversations about climate change with friends and family.

With all the scary news these days, this was a wonderful way to wake up and celebrate the Earth, our one and only home!

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