It’s Earth Day this Sunday, April 22nd. Gladly or sadly as the case may be, I’m old enough to remember the very first Earth Day celebrated nationally in the U.S.A. It was waaaaaay back in … well … in the last century! I was a sophomore in college. Our campus was a-buzz with activities to mark this special day: a teach-in for the environment. It was the ’70′s after all and teach-in were all the rage.
Attributed to Senator Gaylord Nelson, Earth Day remains a staple of Springtime celebrations. In 1970, we focused on the basics of recycling, reusing, restoring, reducing and replenishing our planet. Some 42 years later we continue to focus on these same basics.
What’s Earth Day got to do with cohousing?
When speaking about cohousing, I always say cohousing is “naturally green.” In addition to the obvious physical characteristics of clustered housing and smaller footprint coupled with “green” building materials, energy efficient heating, cooling and lighting systems comes the additional benefit of living with neighbors who make adhering to these basics easy.
There’s always one or two households who really get into recycling. Sure, recycling your newspapers may be easy but what about those outdated, unused electronic gadgets? Or the left over paint from your last decorating project? Or the expired vitamins and pharmaceuticals? On my own, I’d leave these stored in the basement until the next time I moved — which in my case may be never again. However, one of my neighbors is committed to recycling everything possible so he makes it very easy for everyone by simply having people drop off their items to his home which he then gathers up and takes to special recycling sites. One person-one trip.
We all at one time or another donate our used clothing or household goods to second hand stores and charitable organizations. What if you didn’t even have to leave your neighborhood to do this? Here at Takoma Village we have a Take-It-Or-Leave-It (TIOLI) area in our Common House. Items left are for anyone to take. What happens to the stuff that doesn’t find a new home? Once every six or eight weeks a couple of the neighbors remove all the goods and take them to a thrift store. One or two people-one trip. For large items such as furniture or building materials someone will organize a day for Community Forklift or another non profit to make a pick up. One pick up instead of multiple individual pick ups. Our TIOLI area also has packaging materials available for anyone. Bubble wrap, packing paper, cardboard, etc. No more storing stuff like this in my house! And no more buying this stuff to ship a box!
The examples of sharing and caring in cohousing are endless. People share cars, bikes, bike repair, computers, computer repair and servicing, upgrading, food, and homes. When going away, it’s not at all unusual for people to offer their homes to other neighbors to use in their absence especially if there’s a big event going on with lots of overnight guests. All of these sharings occur naturally in cohousing — it’s just a product of how we live day to day. And it makes a big difference. Every time I don’t have to get in a car to recycle something has an impact.
This weekend is a work weekend for us here at Takoma Village. We’re planting annuals, replenishing the grasses, shrubs, etc. We’re Spring cleaning. Mid-day we’re having lunch together prepared by one of the neighbors. It’s not an official Earth Day event for us — we’d do it anyway. And that’s kind of the point. We do it anyway. Everyday here at Takoma Village is Earth Day.
How will you be celebrating Earth Day this year?
Does your community have some special ways it encourages people to recycle, reuse, replenish, reduce and restore resources?
What are some of your fondest Earth Day events?
Let us hear from you!
- Harlem Earth Day, For The Whole Family! (harlemworldmag.com)
- 8 Gorgeous Nature Blogs for Earth Day (tangentsky.wordpress.com)
- Caribou Coffee: Free Coffee on Earth Day (April 22nd) (hip2save.com)
- Earth Day – Haiku For Children Of All Ages (ellenolinger.wordpress.com)
- Celebrating Earth Day has the backfire button built into it (linkingsustainability.com)
- Earth Day-Sunday, April 22nd (ladyashleydesigns.wordpress.com)
- NBC25 Today promotes Earth Day celebration in Flushing (minbcnews.com)