This year, I decided to do something very unique. I posed my question of the month to Facebook friends from around the world... making this a real global effort!!!!
I received enough replies to fill an entire page of the magazine for 2 separate months!!! That's a lot of global inspiration to share!
In this post, I have decided to share all of the stories for you to enjoy!
Feet on the Earthday Street - 2018
(Published in the Byron Villager magazine in the April & May issues)
Years ago, I was enjoying the sun while eating my lunch on a bench in Springbank Park. Sitting next to me was an elderly lady and we began to talk. Soon, we were discussing some of the problems created by Global Warming and she made the comment, “Well – what can you do?” “Anything!” was my response. This one word made her have a deep think and soon she agreed with me. No matter how big or small our actions may be, it all boils down to the point that how our future is depends on what we do now! With this thought in my mind, I took my feet on an interesting journey down the cyberspace street to ask people – from around the world – how there actions are making a positive impact on our world…
Peter Jam (Philadelphia)
I first found my voice when I was a teenager! I learned how to play music, write stories and songs and create inspirational art works. Since then, my music has allowed me to reach people from around the world and I have dedicated myself to bringing peace, love and understanding to my audiences. People all want and need to feel loved and when people experience this, their hearts will open up and they can begin to see the world in a brand new way. When this happens, we understand more deeply why we are here and what we need to do while we are here. No matter what it is that we do… when we connect to our hearts and find peace and love we can do anything!
Steve Sauder – aka Mr. Earthday Canada (London, Ontario)
I have always had a connection with the natural environment through play and work. I like to connect natural systems to living. Our family likes to grow our own food, power our home and car with the sun, use long lasting materials like enviro-shakes on our roof, and planting 6,500 native trees on our farm. I love working for the local conservation authority protecting people from flooding, helping species at risk, improving water quality & soil sustainability, giving outdoor education and recreation experiences. One of my long-term programs is helping to host Earth Day London for the past 25 years! Looking forward to seeing lots of Londoners out planting trees again this spring!
Sasha Marita Gous (Pretoria, South Africa)
As a teacher, I would enjoy thinking that I am making a positive impact in students’ lives, each and every day. Inspiring young minds to be respectful towards people and nature is a valuable life lesson that I often talk about. Several years ago, I was invited to get my students involved in an unusual art project that furthered these ideals. I had just moved to China, for a year-long teaching contract, when I received a letter from an artist living all the way in London, Ontario! Mr. Jim was asking people from all around the world to help him with what he called ‘A Global Art Attack’! He wanted people to draw peace-flowers, using chalk, on sidewalks. I took this opportunity to teach my students about peace, art, environment and the power of self expression. My students worked on individual as well as collective peace-flower sidewalk drawings and we sent in over ten photographs of our work!! Since that time, I have been inspired to continue to be on the look out for other interesting and fun ways to inspire my students in the classroom.
Mike Schreiner (Guelph, Ontario)
Growing up on farm, I learned from an early age the importance of stewardship. I’m deeply inspired by the Seven Generations principle that I learned from my indigenous friends. Everything we do should benefit not only ourselves and our kids, but also the next Seven Generations. I started one of Ontario’s first local organic food delivery businesses in Guelph, with this in mind. As Leader of the Green Party of Ontario, I spend my time working with people for changes in government policy. Political change is essential to building a sustainable future. But it’s not the only way to make change. Raising kids who love and value the outdoors as I do is something that’s always been important to our family. Getting our hands dirty together, from family canoe trips to planting trees to being part of local events that clean up parks and rivers we find ways to make a difference as a family.
Jessica Baynton (Vancouver, British Columbia)
I am a biologist who has worked with birds for the last ten years in many different capacities: education, rehab, and wildlife management. They have been my co-workers, my teachers, my mentors, and my inspiration. They, along with my parents, have taught me a deep respect and love for the natural environment. I am grateful for all the lessons learned, and because of them I try to make conscious intelligent choices every day to minimize my environmental impact and try to inspire others in the same way. I believe that maintaining biodiversity and natural habitats as well as sharing this planet with all its diverse and wonderful creatures is important. Ours is not the only perspective that matters, and everyday I wish I could see the sky the way they do.
Maryanne MacDonald (Ottawa, Ontario)
Ottawa provides a unique opportunity to provide input to the three levels of government, to speak at public hearings, to march on Parliament Hill, and to meet with local members of Parliament. Education of the wider community is at the heart of what I do, not just highlighting the issues but more importantly providing individuals an opportunity to develop their own vision and actions towards a better environment. When we moved to Ottawa, nearly 5 years ago, our energies were spent on developing a familiarity with the community and the natural landscape and working on becoming the best grandparents we could be. We discovered, through the extensive bike paths, conservation areas along the beautiful Ottawa River but also came to understand this waterway is endangered. Water is life - not just for humans but for all species. Upstream there are plans for a Near Surface Nuclear Disposal Facility situated 1 km from this source of life. As a founding member of the Water Care Allies it is important to me to educate others about this developing catastrophe. I have been an intervenor in public hearings, shared information on social media, and helped organize workshops on the poison potential of this waste disposal - it concerns all Canadians. In addition, last year and this year I organized groups to clean up the banks along the river, organized a community candlelight sing-a-long celebration about the river to observe Earth Hour, and was one of the leaders of a five week Lenten Series "Water is Speaking - Are we Listening" which included Indigenous elders to raise awareness about the sacredness and need to protect water. The focus on water is intentional since all species require it to survive. This Earth Day I will provide opportunities for youth to clean up local parks while discussing what can be done to eliminate the type of waste found and delving into a better understanding about how these items end up in the waterways. Earth Day for me is every day.
Traci Plank Felsot (Texas)
There are so many ways that each one of us can make a positive impact in our world, everyday of our lives. One of my hobbies is photography and I would like to think that my photos of interesting landscapes inspire people to realize how beautiful our Earth is and how we need to take steps to protect nature. For many years, I worked as an EMT - helping people who have been in an accident or an unsafe situation or in need of immediate medical attention. Each life that my crew was able to get to a hospital to receive care is a victory in my books! Just recently, the question about how I make a positive impact in the world has taken on new meaning for me. For the last two years, I have been in and out of the hospital many, many times, as I’ve been struggling to fight cancer. Every time, I felt frustrated when the treatments seemed too harsh, I always thought of my family and especially my amazing husband, daughter and grandson. I drew my strength from them and I fought to live so that I could be with them… so, now my positive impact on our world has become very personal, as I look forward to just being there for my family!
Esha Minchin (British Columbia)
I’m young and I move around a bit. Even so, I always explore the place where I am living to find local and sustainable food options. I like going to farmer's markets, and even if I don't buy a lot, I try to supplement my groceries there. I have apprenticed on an organic farm in BC, and through this experience I have come to appreciate the dedication of small-scale producers. At home, I love to recycle and to mend my own clothes. I also like to use my bicycle to get places. In another way, I have a positive impact on the Earth by enjoying the changes of season; going for walks to see the snow blanketing everything in the Winter, or new leaves popping out in the Spring. Nature surrounds us all, and simply being amazed by it, helps me to connect with it and respect it!