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PROULX: Show the planet some love

Shaun Proulx offers up some helpful suggestions for Earth Day this Saturday.

Shaun Proulx offers up some helpful suggestions for Earth Day this Saturday.

SHAUN PROULX/ 24 HOURS

 "They paved paradise /And put up a parking lot" - Joni Mitchell

This Saturday on Earth Day, will you heed the global cry to love our environment? Our planet is home to seven billion people, yet the destruction of it - our only home - continues. Are we that arrogant or so myopic to believe we'll be the one exception to landing on the universe's endless list of extinct species? Here in Toronto or in Vancouver, rapid urbanization contributes to feelings of imbalance, uneasiness, and we've become more anti-social, not knowing how to treat one another.

Ask any downtowner of more than five years about the toll that comes from living/working where on-going building destruction, endless scaffolding, heartbreaking tree excavations, daily dust storms, noise pollution, road congestion, the infestation of new high-rises and exploding populations is considered normal. Urban cities like Toronto and Vancouver (but much less so) are toxic. We are each stewards of this planet. Stewardship - carefully, responsibly managing and caring for something of great value - is entrusted to all of us by virtue of our birth and living our lives on earth. We must nurture nature like a parent cares and guides a child they love unconditionally.

My aunt takes stewardship so seriously she once threw the brakes on her car, stopping traffic, while she shocked passersbys by reading furiously the riot act to a teenager she'd spotted recklessly dumping their trash - a knapsack's worth - onto a flowering community planter, ignoring the city bin next to it. You don't need to be that rabid. Join in on large group efforts, or do your lone wolf thing. Small is mighty.

Let these ideas spark some earthy inspiration:

Green your space. Adding just one new plant into your home (whatever size/budget) or planting a tree or new shrub on your land are simple luxuries that increase life and beauty for you - and needed support for the planet

Pick up dog poop! Memo to dog lovers: pick up litter along your stroll and let that act become a loving gift you give the earth every time you walk your dog

Parents, educate your kids: What's their understanding of the planet they'll inherit? What does your example teach about stewardship? If their school doesn't have an "edible" playground, could it?

Beauty junkies: Your skin and the planet will both shine brighter when you drink your 8 daily glasses of daily water from eco water bottles - not plastic

Smokers, butt out carefully: Carry a small elegant holder for your butts and place them in that to dispose of later. It's beneath anyone to toss butts any other way

Community-based environmental stewardship: Habitat restoration, land conservation, and park and community gardening, is a fast-rising movement you can join. For example, in #TheSix, The Toronto Community Garden Network (tcgn.ca) is a great online stop to green up your lifestyle and EarthDay.org to be part of their broader organized effort. If you're in Vancouver, head over here for ideas: Vancouver.ca/green-vancouver/greenestcity-action-plan.aspx 

As we grow or restore the bonds between us and our lifeplace, we become part of a much-needed spiritual process that unifies people, promotes reciprocity, renewing you and the world around you. You're in a relationship with the planet as a whole and with the small place on it you intimately occupy. It's incumbent on all of us to make that relationship ethical and loving, enjoying the beautiful knowing that what we give Earth will - unfailingly - return to us ten-fold.

Shaun Proulx hosts The Shaun Proulx Show on SiriusXM Canada Talks channel 167. He is the publisher of TheGay GuideNetwork.com and leads a #Thought Revolution about busting through personal limits onShaunProulx.com.