Cathy Reilly

Cathy Reilly, Front Desk Coordinator 

If we counted Earth Days as birthdays, our planet would have turned 51 yesterday — a respectable middle age. But how have we, during that time, cared for her? And is it enough to recognize our home just one day a year? What about the other 364 (365, in a Leap Year!)? Earth sustains us but we all too often forget to reciprocate that love. Well, here are some ways... 

I like to get out almost daily and walk in our beautiful outdoors. It is lovely to be able to hear the birds chirping and the wind in the trees, feel the breeze on my skin and the warmth of the sun. But it is also jarring to notice all the trash in our public areas. Fast food cups, wrappers and bags, disposable masks, beverage containers, broken glass, plastic bags... the list is almost endless, sadly. And I always shake my head in disbelief at the folks who will go to the effort of picking up their canine companion’s fecal material but then just leave the bag beside the sidewalk/road/trail. I have read that some do that as they will be making a loop and will pick it back up on the return but, from the evidence I’ve seen, that doesn’t always happen.

You can pick up trash while out walking, but those looking for a faster pace may consider plogging — a way to help the environment while exercising. It started in Sweden and is a combination of words in Swedish meaning to pick up trash while jogging. One of my sisters lives in the Czech Republic and is the dedicated plogger who brought the practice to my attention.

There are less strenuous ways to help the planet. I am a firm believer in recycling and pre-cycling — thinking twice before buying something that may be deleterious for our environment because of its contents, packaging — or both.   

Another easy option is composting. I have had access to a nearby compost pile for a few years and it is gratifying to watch the pile of food scraps (no proteins, dairy, fats or grains, please!) grow and realize that is not adding to the waste stream but rather going back to the Earth to nourish future growth.  

We do think about the planet during other days of the year, but that often happens in during extremes. And while longer, drier summers may sound nice on the surface, they also mean longer fire seasons, severe droughts, dangerous storms that include increased lightning and higher winds, and more. The good and bad serve to remind us that we are not in charge of everything. 

And there are many more things we can do to show our little rock some love. What are your ideas? Please reach out and share — I’d love to learn new things to further honor our planet on Earth Day — and everyday.

— Staff notes originally run in our daily email newsletter, Indy Now, along with news updates, photos of the day, a weekly poll and more. Sign up below.