|The original Earth Day Logo|
Earth Day 2015 began as a glorious spring morning. The sun was out, the sky a bright blue, the air almost seasonally warm. I dropped off my bike to get it tuned up for the Rock to Rock Earth Day Ride. I sometimes work for a printer. They needed me today, and because the weather was so nice, and in observance of the occasion, I decided to take the city bus. It stops right outside my house and right in front of my place of employment. After leaving my bike in good hands, I had plenty of time to grab a cup of coffee at the corner store, and even enough time to enjoy drinking it while I waited. The bus came right on time.
Everyone should take the city bus now and then, with open eyes and ears. You can’t help but overhear the conversations about the challenges of being in recovery, troubled relationships, and the dreams of earning a steady paycheck, landing a job that pays $13/hr, or winning the lottery. The coffee on the bus comes from Dunkin’, not Starbucks. People are riding the bus to work, to the Dollar Store, to the Goodwill Outlet, or to the DMV. [Yes, many people who drive for a living do not own a car.]
At lunch I opened my bottle of Honest Tea to discover a very appropriate Earth Day message, an Ojibwa Prayer: “Grandfather, Sacred One, teach us love, compassion, and honor that we may heal the earth and heal each other.”
I had a project to finish. It took me longer than I had planned, and past my usual bus time. By the time I was at the stop to wait for the next one, the sun was gone and the predicted rain had started. I did not have an umbrella. The buses on this route at this time of day do not run very often. I was out there early to make sure I did not miss it; it came late. I know very well why most people with cars do not choose the bus.
I had lots of time for reflection at the bus stop and on my way home.
Taking the bus today definitely made me realize the good fortune I often take for granted. But did it make a difference in the grand scheme of things?
I thought back to an event I attended recently. His Holiness the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje visited Yale recently as a Chubb Fellow. I had the opportunity to hear his April 7 talk “Compassion in Action — Buddhism and the Environment.” The 29-year-old spiritual leader encouraged attendees to make small changes in their daily lives as first steps in combatting climate change. He emphasized that each person must start with themselves and set an example for others to follow; this is why he became a vegetarian, despite his fondness for the taste of meat. He emphasized that we are all connected with each other and the environment in which we live, and that each positive action we make is a step away from negativity.
The Karmapa when asked a tough question admitted he did not have all the answers, and made the point that the concept of global warming is a hard sell in Tibet, where it is so cold that some people would welcome a rise in temperature.
I know that the community who rides on and/or donates to tomorrow's Rock to Rock Earth Day Ride makes a substantial difference in the world, in both dollars raised and positive energy generated.
I hope that this blog matters, too.
For a positive start to your day, check out this example of what a stalwart crew of volunteers can accomplish. The story about “The Big Night” aired on NPR and was shared by my cousin Joanne on Facebook.
Happy Belated Earth Day.