Happy Earth Day – Redux for 2019!!!

Today is Earth Day … the 49th anniversary of Earth Day, to be exact.  Last night, I was struggling, trying to write a new Earth Day post for 2019, the theme of which is “Protect Our Species”.  Motivation just would not come, so this morning I looked back on my prior years’ posts and found that last year’s post expresses my thoughts just as well as anything I could write today.  So, I am ‘re-cycling’ that post.  I will have more soon, for Earth Day is only a motivator — we must learn to be good stewards of our planet Earth every day.


Today is Earth Day!  I am always surprised by people who say, “Yeah, so???” Or those who say “What the heck is Earth Day?”  So, please bear with me while I explain very briefly.

History – In The Beginning

The concept for Earth Day was conceived in the mind of then-Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Senator Nelson recruited help from Republican Congressman Pete McCloskey and others, and on April 22,1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.

Earth Day 2018-4Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. By the end of that year, the first Earth Day had led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.

In 1995, President Bill Clinton awarded Senator Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom—the highest honor given to civilians in the United States—for his role as Earth Day founder.

From Then To Now

Through the years, Earth Day has focused largely on global warming and a push for clean energy. Earth Day 2000 used the power of the Internet to organize activists, but also featured a drum chain that traveled from village to village in Gabon, Africa. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered on the National Mall in Washington, DC for a First Amendment Rally. Earth Day 2000 sent world leaders the loud and clear message that citizens around the world wanted quick and decisive action on global warming and clean energy.Earth Day 2018-3Earth Day 2010 saw new challenges:  Climate change deniers, well-funded oil lobbyists, reticent politicians, a disinterested public, and a divided environmental community all contributed to the narrative—cynicism versus activism.  Still, some 250,000 people showed up at the National Mall for a Climate Rally, launched the world’s largest environmental service project—A Billion Acts of Green®–introduced a global tree planting initiative that has since grown into The Canopy Project, and engaged 22,000 partners in 192 countries in observing Earth Day.

And In 2018???

Under the current administration, with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) having been nearly decimated under the auspices of Scott Pruitt, the United States stands alone among all nations in eschewing the science of global climate change, and I am inclined to say that we have no right to even celebrate Earth Day.  However, thankfully, the vast majority of people in this nation are more intelligent than our leaders and understand how critical our environment and our stewardship of the planet earth is.

The Plastics Crisis

A mound of plastics

This year’s Earth Day theme is a call to end plastic pollution.  This year, a six-ton sperm whale washed up on the shores of southern Spain with 64 pounds of plastic in its stomach!  The plastic crisis is a truly global one, and the numbers are staggering: A 2015 study found that between 4.8 and 12.7 million metric tons of plastic makes it into the ocean from land each year. By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by weight.

Plastic is not biodegradable and does not break down in nature.  Some 32 percent of plastics end up in nature, where it often ends up in the bellies of fish, birds, and whales. 83 percent of drinking water samples all over the world were found to contain plastic fibers, even bottled water. Environmental activists are pushing to reduce or end the use of disposable plastics. Curbing plastic pollution is a key theme in this year’s Earth Day and there’s a high-profile campaign underway to ban plastic straws in particular. UK Prime Minister Theresa May called for a ban on plastic straws, swabs, and stirrers. Some researchers last year openly called for an international agreement to control plastic pollution.

Animal Extinctions

We failed to save the Northern White Rhino species, as the last male of the species died last month. His name was Sudan …

There are now only two Northern White Rhinos left in the world, both females.  Why did these animals become extinct?  Two main causes:  poaching and loss of habitat.  Humans must bear the blame for both.  In 1900, there were an estimated half-million of the rhinos.  By 1970, that number was reduced to 70,000.  And today the number is 2.

Global Warming

Earth’s polar regions are warming twice as fast as the average rate of the planet. NOAA scientists reported late last year that the Arctic losing ice at its fastest rate in at least 1,500 years. For the third year in a row. January saw the lowest extent of Arctic sea ice for the month on record. Researchers reported last year that a section of Greenland’s ice sheet suddenly started melting 80 percent faster. Another study found Greenland’s entire ice sheet is melting at its fastest rate in at least 400 years, and that the melt rate sped up drastically in 1990. If the entire Greenland ice sheet were to melt, it would raise global sea levels by more than 20 feet.

The climate change deniers can deny until they turn blue in the face, but facts speak louder than bullshit, and the facts tell us that we are losing this battle and will face our own extinction if we don’t take collective action soon.

In Summary

This is a post about Earth Day, but more to the point it is a post about the need for Earth Day.  It isn’t just about one day a year, about marches and articles such as this one, but it is about awareness.  The entire purpose of Earth Day is to raise awareness, to stir people to take action.  The U.S. government and Fox News will continue to deny the need to protect our environment, not because they are as stupid as they seem, but rather because they are as greedy as they seem.  But there is much that each and every one of us can do without the help of our elected officials.  Recycle, pick up trash when you see it on the streets or in your local parks, plant a tree, plant flowers to encourage pollination, turn the thermostat down, conserve water, reduce food waste, turn off lights, consolidate errands and trips in the car, walk more/drive less, take the bus … use some common sense and be a good steward of the planet.  And meanwhile, keep petitioning your elected officials at local, state and federal levels … let them know that a healthy environment is more important to you than the finances of the fossil fuel industry.  Please … my life and yours are at stake, but more importantly our children’s and grandchildren’s lives are at stake.

Happy Earth Day, my friends!  Why not celebrate by planting a sapling or a few flowers in the back yard?

47 thoughts on “Happy Earth Day – Redux for 2019!!!

  1. Returning to read the comments that came after mine, and your comments on the previous as well as the later comments reveals to me a sort of common thread throughout. That is concerning the unwillingness of the majority to give up anything they find to be personally inconvenient. Over the decades of my life we have welcomed the discoveries and manufacturing of use and toss products, with all the focus on the benefits of their use and little thought as to where they were being tossed. We are a disposable society with little room left in which to dispose more. Landfills are filled, oceans have suffered from the overflowing abundance of plastics, habitats are destroyed in the quest to fill our insatiable needs, wildlife is imperiled to the point of extinction for many…I could go on and on. The arrogance of many that choose to deny the proof of man’s folly that science provides is astounding. Gaylord Nelson summed it up nicely in these words that I’ve likely shared before : “The ultimate test of a man’s conscience is his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.” Thank-you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very true. For a long time, we have been concerned with inventing things to make life easier … appliances, vehicles, disposable everything from bottles to diapers, electronic gadgetry. All without much thought, if any, about where these things go to die. And now, we humans are so spoiled that we are unwilling to give any of them up … we’d prefer to put on our rose-coloured glasses and pretend that it will all somehow work out. The religious claim that God will take care of the earth for them. Others simply claim, without a shred of evidence, that climate science is a hoax. Meanwhile, we are dooming our children and our grandchildren, not to mention every living, breathing creature on the planet. Some days I hate this world, y’know? Yes, I think that quote is spot on, but is anybody listening? Here is a link to a speech Greta Thunberg gave to the MP’s in the British Parliament this week. I’m probably going to use it in a post tomorrow, but I think you’ll find it inspiring. She pulled no punches! https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/23/greta-thunberg-full-speech-to-mps-you-did-not-act-in-time

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    • Good post … I really enjoyed your pictures! I don’t know that we can feel stronger in this situation, with Trump trying to force the nation to further decimate the earth, but we must feel more committed than ever, more ready to fight him and his minions in any way we can. Sigh. Tough times.

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  2. Sometimes I think we just don’t deserve our place on this planet. Hang on, sometimes? Pretty well all the time, actually. The capacity of so many of the powerful to deny there is a problem, or that it’s anything to do with them, is staggering. And as others have noted, to claim the protesters (in London, for example) are the problem, and it is wrong to ‘inconvenience’ people makes me splutter. As though mass extinctions and climate disaster isn’t an ‘inconvenience!’ De-coded, they are saying that it’s fine for the planet to die, as long as it doesn’t interfere with my right to make money out of it.

    Going to stop now before I begin swearing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I share your thoughts. We have not been good stewards of this planet, and the planet will likely be much healthier once we are gone. I have recently had several arguments with friends whose ignorance and greed are blatant, who refuse to make even the smallest lifestyle change if it inconveniences them or costs them so much as a dime. I have to walk away from those arguments, for my temper is a tinderbox these days. The prevailing attitude seems to be “Live for today and to hell with tomorrow”. Sigh. 😥

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Earth Day is so important now. It reminds us who we are and what is important for us and the planet.

    Greta, Fridays for Future, Extinction Rebellion, We have No Time, and many other movements have arisen because life itself is threatened by our excessive consumerism.

    This crisis, (for as Greta reminds us, we are in a crisis) , needs our everyday attention and swift action to look at our activities, our impact and to change our usage of resources immediately. This includes forcing our Governments to stop lying and pandering to corporate interests that do not wish to change.

    One has only to look at Venezuela and Caracas in particular, to see what oil production does to people. It brings wealth only to the top 1%. To everyone else, it has brought pollution, poverty and death. The water is undrinkable and people fight over what meagre water is available. This is a very sharp picture of what will come to all of us if we don’t start to reduce our use of fossil fuels, and wasteful ways of purchasing more than we need.

    We can start by making Earth Day with designation as a National Holiday. Perhaps the most important day for us in coming years.

    https://www.change.org/p/governments-around-the-globe-earth-day-should-be-a-national-holiday-2

    Now, when I walk through a shop, and I see something interesting to buy, I first ask myself if I need it? If the answer is Yes, I ask myself, what is it made from?, is it sustainable?, is it harmful to the environment?, was it made by people on slave wages?, is it really necessary? In most cases, one of those answers will give me a reason not to buy. This is how we do our little bit. That helps, but we need our Governments to stand up for mitigation action and bring in clean alternatives, penalise pollution and make it commercially unviable to produce polluting products.

    If we don’t all start rebelling, we will end up like the poor people of Caracas, with undrinkable water, and no food available.

    As Greta would say. ‘This is like your house is on fire, start panicking!’

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is, indeed, so important, but I am distressed at the number of people who refuse to change a single thing they do, such as perhaps carpooling, stop buying water in plastic bottles, purchase cloth, re-usable grocery bags, stop spraying bee-killing chemicals on the lawn. Simple things, but too many are spoiled and selfish.

      Thanks for that link! I did sign the petition. I have done much the same with my shopping habits … the added benefit is saving money! Greta is spot on with that … I just wish we could wake people up to that fact! Friends keep calling me an ‘alarmist’. Sigh.

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      • Greta’s speech (full text) today addressing the UK Parliament.

        https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/23/greta-thunberg-full-speech-to-mps-you-did-not-act-in-time

        It is a scathing attack and well deserved. Three times Greta says, “Can you hear me, is my microphone working.” She is nobody’s fool and will not be fobbed off with platitudes. Her words are hard hitting and deadly accurate in assessment of how people react to them. Many of our UK Members of Parliament are so far up their minds own arses, they had the gall to dismiss Greta. But this young woman will mobilize the world’s youth, the future voters, and they will not be cheated out of a future by rich, fat, sanctimonious adults who refuse to change their ways.

        Whether they have enough time to make the changes necessary, is very uncertain, and looking more negative, the more time slips by. One thing for sure…
        Everything changes from here on in!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Our illustrious Prime Minister did not speak with Greta, nor even make herself available to listen to what she had to say.
          I am ashamed of our Tory leader who has failed with leadership, failed to negotiate Brexit, and doesn’t listen to the people. She dismissed Greta, and the Extinction Rebellion, with excuses that Britain is doing enough on Climate Change. She has taken the Conservative Tory party to a new low. Her ability to govern our country is zero, her popularity is zero. Her ability to engage with people is zero. Her personality is zero. Remind you of anyone? I hear that he is making a state visit to UK.,🤢🤮

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          • I’m disappointed in Ms. May … I thought she was better than that. Yes, Trump is coming there from June 3-6, and it is estimated that the UK will spend another $23 million in policing alone. It is to be a state visit, although for the life of me, I cannot understand why the Queen would even want him near her after the way he acted last year. I suspect Ms. May is inviting him in an effort to keep relations cordial for future trade benefits in the post-Brexit world, but he’s not honest and frankly if I were her I’d rather trade with almost any other country right now than the U.S. Heck, I’m even boycotting U.S.-made goods, which is why I’m still nursing my old vacuum cleaner rather than buying a new one.

            Liked by 1 person

        • WOW!!! That was one powerful speech! I even cringed and felt guilty just reading her words. Thank you for sending me that … I believe I will use it in a post, for it needs to be shared far and wide. To many, I suspect, will ignore her words and if they were the only ones to pay the price for doing so, I would not mind, but by their greed and ignorance, they are condemning us all, and our children and grandchildren, not to mention every living, breathing creature on the earth. Thumbs up for Greta … she is doing more than anyone else I’ve heard of to try to mobilize us sorry humans!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Greta is nominated for Time Woman of the Year. And has received a lot of awards. She always donates the money to charitable causes. She is not doing this for popularity, yet it grows exponentially.

            After her speech in Parliament, Greta’s Twitter followers grew by over 100,000 in one day. She now sits at 500.9K followers. I expect that will be at 600.5K in a day or two. She will soon have as many followers as our UK Prime Minister.
            This young girl can deliver an impactful speech that can run rings around those of the spin doctors writing for political leaders. The difference? She speaks from the heart and only with truth. She does not descend to lies, deceptions or let herself be bought by those who wish to honour her. She is, because of her autism, very sensitive to the environment we live in and she sees actions exactly as they are intended. If she and Trump were on the same stage, it would not be Greta who looks as though she has a disability.

            Liked by 1 person

            • You’ve hit the nail on the head: she speaks from the heart. Her speeches are moving and I hope motivating to those who need to hear the message loud and clear. You’re right … she would run rings around Trump, but then … my cat could speak better than Trump!

              Liked by 1 person

  4. I remember very well this Earth Day post from last year and my response to it. I had only started following Filosofa’s Word 11 days before and this was one of the posts that kept me coming back. This post is perfect for Earth Day as written in 2018 for 2019 and will remain so for 2020. If we believe the well known Native American Proverb : “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”, we must also understand that something borrowed is not our own and must be taken care of until it is returned. We are failing miserably and it is our children that will pay the price for our negligence and arrogance. I was introduced to Wendell Berry by my eldest sister in 1963, albeit unknowingly on her part, when I took a book from her nightstand. It was his first novel published in 1960 “Nathan Coulter” and I was hooked. Mr. Berry has authored many books, but he is equally notable as an environmentalist and a farmer. I share some of his words that seem fitting for Earth Day and provide some food for thought. “Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.” and “The Earth is what we all have in common.” Thank-you!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Eleven days, eh? I’m glad you kept coming back, for you are now a cherished part of my blogging family! You are right … we are failing miserably. Our governments are letting us down, but equally distressing is that so many people simply shrug their shoulders and go on about the business of polluting the atmosphere on a daily basis, thinking that their small contributions won’t matter. I had an argument with a friend not long ago over hamburgers, for she said she didn’t think the methane produced by cows mattered and she was not about to give up her hamburgers. A silly argument, really, but telling in the “I’m not about to give up anything that makes my life more convenient” sort of way. There are so many small things we can each do, and collectively they would make a big difference, but people are lazy, spoiled and selfish. Sigh. Both of those quotes are apt … if only people would listen.

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  5. Jill, well done. This is a topic where we need to lean in. This is not a Democratic issue – it is avoiding a catastrophe issue. Climate change is bad enough, but is making other problems worse – global water crisis, extended droughts in areas at risk, more flooding from stalled weather patterns, and resource issues.

    This needs to be a top question of candidates – if their answers are unsatisfactory, we should nor vote for them. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Keith! You’re so right … this is not about … or rather, should not be about … politics, or religion, but about saving all life forms on this planet. The food we eat, water we drink and air we breathe are at risk, yet our government ‘pooh-poohs’ it, saying the science is ‘fake’ and that we are being alarmists. What does it take to wake the people up? A catastrophe of global proportions, and I will not be surprised if that very thing occurs within the next year or two. Meanwhile, we each do the best we can and hope to make a bit of difference, but what we really need is every nation’s leaders to take this seriously and make the tough calls. Sigh.

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      • Jill, here is a good push back. When someone rails against the Green New Deal, the push back is “I recognize it needs work, but it is a start and is something to build from. At least it is a plan on a very important topic. It concerns me the GOP plan is to open up offshore drilling and leave the Paris accord.” Keith

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        • Jill, for those who are more evangelical, attached is one bible verse about taking care of the environment and a summation of what the bible tells us by a minister. I think it speaks for itself.

          Psalm 24:1 “A Psalm of David. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.”
          This is not our earth because the title holder is God and He will hold us responsible for how we care for it. As we read in Revelation 11:18, those who abuse and destroy the earth will not go unpunished and knowing that the earth is not really ours, we should treat the earth with the respect of knowing it is God’s own possession and not ours but He was still willing to share with us to use for our own good.

          Conclusion
          God commands us to keep and care for the earth but God’s edict to have dominion over the earth doesn’t mean to have complete domination and exploitation of it but sadly, this is what has happened; we continue to rape the land, denude the forests, strip-mine the hills, burn through the resources, and gut the earth. This is the only place that we have and if we chose to abuse it, it will be a choice we will live to regret.

          Article by Jack Wellman, Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas.

          Keith

          Liked by 1 person

          • Wow! So … how can the evangelicals continue to ignore the effects of man’s destruction of planet earth? I had a friend argue with me the other day that God gave the earth to humans to use as they please, and that he will continue rejuvenating it and keeping it a good place for humans. The conversation started over one of my posts about killing of animals, and she posited that God put those animals here for our pleasure! Needless to say, I walked away from that conversation with a scowl and a growl. So, given the verse you just quoted … ??? There’s a disconnect somewhere!

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            • Jill, the answer to that friend’s comments is that is not what the bible says. Google the minister’s name and what the bible says about environment. He cites seven passages. You could forward him the link.

              Where the friend gets it from is the rationalization disparate to duct tape the GOP together. Industry and fossil fuel want free reign, so climate change is a hoax and God said the earth is yours to destroy. Keith

              Liked by 1 person

  6. As a species we do some things without thinking them through, the creation of plastic for one. I hope there will be a big change from plastic bottles to glass bottles soon as we start to correct the problem. hat worries me more though is the fact that man can ignore the obvious if it suits him.That a species of rhino has been lost because of poaching and loss of habitat. I don’t just blame the poachers though, I blame the Governments that have allowed the habitat to disappear and for the lack of protection for a species under threat. Time to wake up and do something concrete before the next species goes.
    Cwtch

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    • You are so right about the creation of plastic! Who knew, a century ago, that it would become one of our worst enemies. Once I started thinking about how much plastic is in our trash every week, I was appalled! Plastic bags, cups, straws, and worst of all, water bottles! We’re looking into a distiller in order to stop buying water in plastic bottles, and I’ve bought re-usable grocery bags, but there is still so much that we don’t even think about … the bags our veggies come in, the wrappings our meat is packaged in, bing meal trays, medicine bottles … etc. In our neighborhood, there used to be a recycling bin, but a few years ago, they took that away, so now to recycle bottles, etc., we have to drive over 20 miles. Needless to say, hardly anybody does, myself included.

      The lack of concern over the extinction of various species is heartbreaking. In a recent conversation with a friend (???) this topic came up, and her reply was, “God gave us all the things on earth to make our lives happy and to use as we see fit”. As you, who know me well, can imagine, I suffered a fit of apoplexy and ended the conversation! The utter arrogance of mankind will be his own downfall, and perhaps well-deserved.

      Cwtch

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  7. Dear Jill,

    I am going to make a concerted effort to purchase a water filtration system so that I don’t purchase the plastic water bottles. I take my own non plastic straws with me when I eat out. I’m buying products packaged in glass/ paper.

    I purchase only LED light bulbs.

    But I know that there’ more that I can do, that we can all do.

    I’ll be doing a blog on how even young Evangelicals are voting for Democratic candidates. One of the main reasons for this, is their belief in climate change science.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m with you, Gronda. I have purchased re-usable grocery bags, and am looking into a water distiller so that we don’t have to keep buying bottled water. We’ve only used LED bulbs for several years, except one light in the kitchen for which there isn’t a good LED substitute. And yes, we can all do more … we MUST all do more, for it’s obvious that it’s in the hands of us, as our government isn’t going to do a damn thing! Sigh. Big HUGS!!!

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  8. Yes we can all make a difference. The positive is that more are taking action and making positive steps. Sadly our leaders miss the point. Heard a line on the news claiming that the protestors were the problem, governments were taking action just needed speeding up a bit. And with that we see why the planet is screwed at present.

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    • Our leaders miss the point, and yet young people like Greta Thunberg can get it. Says something, doesn’t it? The protestors are the problem??? The protestors would be quite content to attend their own problems if only the government would step up to the plate and take the interest of the planet to heart! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Sigh.

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      • Some of our so called press was having a go at Greta. Allowing the likes of Boris to rubbish climate change. One even started saying she sounded a bit demonic with her monotone voice and call for revolution. How low will these people go. She’s a teenager with Aspergers who happens to be saying things our leaders should be saying…

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  9. I created my “fairy garden” over Easter with places for insects to hind and a teeny weeny water feature. Here in the UK Extinction Rebellion makes the headlines and it made it clear to me how bad it is. Greta Thunberg was in London and supported them 😊 So I am going to volunteer for them and change our lifestyle even more to zero waste and using less water and energy. 🌎.
    Doing what I can is better than doing nothing. Happy Earth Day no matter what because we can change things! 🙋‍♀️🐝

    Liked by 5 people

    • Hey Bee! I was recently reading about the Extinction Rebellion over on your side of the pond, and that it is also coming this way, but there is fear of police brutality. 😥 Hats off to Greta Thunberg … that girl amazes me!!! The concerns for our environment are at a crucial point, and yet … our government fights all efforts to try to repair the damage the industrial revolution has done. It is … beyond distressing. Thumbs up to you for your ‘fairy garden’!!! You are doing something … a lot more than most of us. Thank you! And Happy (belated) Earth Day to you also, my dear friend! In truth, every day needs to be Earth Day. 🙋 🌻🌷🌼🌹🌸🌺

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      • I fully agree and to me every day is Earth Day (especially now that I know I am as old as it 😁) Greta has inspired me a lot to get active. As I dont seem to be able to get a job currently I better use my time to do something that makes my soul sing. And encourage others to do one little step a time too. Because we can. Your country is probably not the only one where police brutality is feared but I think thats when they lose. Still I dont want anyone to suffer because they do the right thing. 😚🙋‍♀️🐝

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