A Truly Earth Life

Earth Month is a pretty wild ride when you are so involved with an organization like ours! Since Earth Hour back in March, it has been very busy around here. 

Earth Hour, for those of you who aren't familiar, began in 2007 by the World Wildlife Federation as a lights-out event to signify our commitment to saving our natural world and a reflection on our huge energy usage. I spent my Earth Hour surrounded by amazing people sharing poems and songs, in darkness, to celebrate the one and only Jim Poyser, this amazing planet, and their next joint trip around the sun.

Earth Day began in 1970, largely on college and university campuses across the country, to promote environmental activism and policy change on April 22. It has since come to embody a much broader vision of stewardship, but advocacy has remained a central part of Earth Day. I spent Earth Day with a great bunch of folks at Z'Green Fest in Zionsville. 

Earth Day has grown into Earth Month, what we lovingly call the month of April, which is an unofficial concept but one widely embraced by organizations and even the US EPA. ECI took part in many events this month, cohosting a screening of the powerful climate documentary "Age of Consequences" at the University of Indianapolis and cohosting the Eco Science Fair for amazing young people at the Indiana State Museum, and much more!

What about an Earth Year? For those of us trying to live an Earth Lifetime, maybe it's time to consider that. Since this world is the only one we will ever know, since it's rhythms and cycles, hour, day, year, shape our sense of time and order, wouldn't it be appropriate to give a year to the mission to create a sustainable future for ourselves and the ecosystems this planet supports?

You hear the phrase "every day should be earth day" frequently and wonder if that isn't the very point of sustainability. What I believe it asks us, however, is bigger than just a commitment to recycling or water conservation, although those things are essential. What may be lacking in the practice of sustainability is regular advocacy. Working day in and day out to push for positive change in our public policy.

This level of engagement goes beyond petition signing, though petitions are important tools. It doesn't mean that you're meeting with a lawmaker daily either. But it does mean that you're staying connected to the process, making calls or visits when needed, writing letters or doing the difficult work of getting information out to other people about what steps to take on an issue. 

There is so much we can do to improve our own impacts on the environment. We have to work collectively, strategically, and tirelessly to make that same daily commitment translate into systematic changes that can bring us safe power, protect our water for generations to come, and provide better options for transportation and resource management.  

It would be my dream that Earth Year would teach us all how to be the best organizers we could be. Maybe sometime in our Earth lives we'll see it happen. 


If you'd like to get started on your own Earth Year, check out, learn about, and share:

Clear Choices Clean Water helps you measure your impact on water and shows on the map where others are doing the same! It's also a great way to get kids involved.

Environmental Resilience Institute at IU, get on their newsletter for updates from this amazing program

Purdue Climate Change Research Center is rolling out Impact Assessment Reports all Spring and Summer, follow them to get all the rich details on what Indiana can expect. Great information for your meetings with policymakers!

Shannon Anderson