Happy Earth Day/Birth Day

1231980_76813417It was on Earth Day in 2009 that I launched this blog, with a simple message:


This seems the perfect day to launch the new CHANGE BY DOING blog, a destination where you’ll find news and updates on volunteer travel, voluntourism, and service travel opportunities and ideas around the world.

Check in to dip into the well for inspiration, find out what others are doing to help, and answer the question for yourself, “I wonder if I could…?”

You can

The world is an incredible place–You should go there.

So, so, so much has happened since then. I hope for you that the place on the road where you find yourself is more satisfying than where you were five years ago. Some of it will have sucked, but hopefully there are victories and proud moments and people wonderfully affected by your presence along the way. 

Earth Day is kind of like that. It’s been marked on calendars since the 1970s, and some of what has happened to the planet has sucked, but along the way there have been some wins. Our greater global awareness gives us a clearer picture of the troubles our planet faces, but also empowers us to act with greater understanding and make a difference.

In the 1970s, Dennis Hayes, one of the primary organizers of Earth Day, said, “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation.” An article in LIFE magazine proclaimed: “In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution… by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half.” Others assured us we would trigger an ice age before the end of the 20th century, and that entire continents would be arid dustbowls. Well–there are certainly regions of Africa where unimaginable drought has decimated wildlife and human lifestyle…entire nations wrestle with food and water insecurity…nobody looks at the air quality in urban China with the same jokesy “ain’t it bad and oh-so-brown” humor we once saved for Burbank…but clearly we’ve begun turning the ship, albeit slowly. There is so much to do, but not by ignoring what we have done. Whether the ecology glass is half full or half empty is irrelevant–what we know is it can be filled some more.

Celebrate your progress today, on Earth Day, and find places where you have barriers to making better choices for the planet. We all have changes we can make to take a little less out of our resources…to leave a little more for the next generation.

My Nez Perce Native American friends in Idaho have a way of living and making tribal decisions that are based not on how action taken today will affect us, but how it will affect those who will be here seven generations from now. Major actions are done for those seven generations hence. If we do this, what will it do to or for our great, great, great, great, great, grandchildren? This, like every other thing they have taught me about this earth, is a nice way to look at it.


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