[Aside update: After a misfortunate run-in with a wily beer glass and a fortunate experience with the Hungarian medical system, I have a repaired severed tendon and a splinted right hand for four weeks. All’s well, however, the SASS posts may be a little sparse and/or succinct over the recovery time. Hurrah for ambidexterity.]
Yesterday was Earth Day. The largest global event both celebrating the Earth and fighting for its protection. Forty-four years in, it’s a day of hope, of cynicism, of action, of announcements. I held a lot of hope yesterday with the act of 175 countries signing of the Paris Agreement in New York, an important step towards true climate action. An agreement that, as Elizabeth May noted, “is not the treaty that saves the world. It’s the treaty that gives the world a chance to save ourselves.” I felt hopeful listening to Hungarian and global social enterprises discuss their purpose and their way of effecting change at a Startup Safary panel at Impact Hub Budapest. I felt a lot of joy seeing people of all ages connect to the Danube and celebrate the Earth through art at the Danube Flow – Hív a Duna! event as the river lapped at our feet.
Now, the day after the hoopla and enthusiasm, what’s next? April 22 is a global, public event. I propose that April 23 is a personal, private day, one to set your Earth Day Resolution*. The scale of environmental issues is inherently global, which can be intimidating. Obviously, global treaties, national governments, and city authorities are key players in creating the global change needed. But individual choices are still significant in making hyper-local change and influencing your community. Often, these choices can be a change of habit: saying no plastic straw please, always using your reusable mug, checking for and choosing the most local tomato. Minor changes that take some initiative at first, and eventually become second-nature. A New Year’s Resolution for the Earth.
My Earth Day Resolution is to take reusable cutlery with me. Plastic cutlery is so common, but all that never-going-to-biodegrade plastic used simply to eat one bowl of soup is ridiculously wasteful. I generally avoid eating anywhere I know uses disposable dishware, but in any city, you’ll still find yourself served plastic. Today, I’m tossing a metal cutlery set into my purse and resolve to say, “Nem kell kanál, köszönöm!” (No spoon needed, thank you!). Nerdy? Perhaps. Useful? Likely. Less impact over the year? Definitely.
How about you? Do you have a personal Earth Day Resolution?
* Well, I thought I was clever coming up with this concept, but a quick Google search reminds me that the Internet has thought of everything. Classic Internet.