Plenty of Enough for Earth Day

In Irish the word for plenty is galeor (galore). The word for enough is also galeor (galore).

In thinking about how to celebrate Earth Day, I find this linguistic example is highly instructive. Enough is plenty. And plenty is always enough. Mother Earth exemplifies this principle.

So this Earth Day I’m going to make some unconventional suggestions. First a practice, then some practicality.

1.    Look around you. I mean, really look around your environment – your home, your car, your neighbourhood, your town. Note what you have plenty of – tulips? trees? butterflies? cats? children? traffic? strip malls? food? litter?
2.    Write these all down. Make a list with the heading ‘Plenty’.
3.    Now…look again around your environment – your home, car, neighbourhood, town.  Note down what you have enough of – food? shelter? clothing?
4.    Write this all down. Make a list with the heading ‘Enough.’
5.    Contrast and compare. Cogitate.

What you may find out is that you have More Than Enough.

You may find your linen closet groaning with more bed linen than you need now the kids have left home. Maybe it’s time to collect some surplus and give it to Goodwill.  This is a form of recycling that is also sharing with some people who may be finding it hard to have enough of quite basic items.

Likewise, if your food shelves are groaning with nearly out of date preserves you might consider sharing the bounty. Perhaps you may want to donate some of the more than enough to a homeless shelter or soup kitchen.

In the garden, perhaps Lady’s Mantle (or geranium or…whatever) is running rampant. Time to divide the mother plant. Friends and family are always glad of plants and the sharing creates a truly ‘organic’ bond.

In looking around you may also realise that there is a lot of concrete and not a lot of green space in your town. Write to the local authorities and see if there is a possibility of galvanising some voluntary muscle to create a community garden. Ask around. Talk over the fence and in the school parking lot. It might take you a whole year of meetings, planning, ground breaking and seeding for next year’s Earth Day before you will have a grand garden opening. But it is never to early – or too late – to start a project like that to mop up carbon emissions.

Some people yearn for the country but have no garden of their own. Maybe you have a balcony. If the structure is sound enough plan to grow tomatoes and lettuce in grow bags. Only a windowsill? Providing you have sunshine you can grow some fresh herbs. Buy a packet of seed on Earth Day. But beware! This is the beginning of  gardening addiction. It’s how I started and I progressed from windowsill, to an 8” x 6” shady concrete yard to an acre!

Live in a modern building with no sills or windows that open? Then take a lemon seed and put it in a 3-inch pot of soil. Water it. Seal it in a zip lock plastic bag somewhere sunny. Watch it sprout – this may take some time, but be patient. Then one day you will see a sprout!

Open the bag and let it air. Keep it watered, but sunshine is most vital. Before you know it, it will be an inch high, growing and needing to  be pot on into a slightly larger pot. In a couple years time, with care and feeding, you will notice blossoms and then the first fruit.

Life – and the Earth – is just like that. It wants to burgeon and share its abundance. Just like the lemon seed really wants to become a lemon to make juice that will become lemonade for your grandchildren, or a slice in your afternoon cup of tea, or mixed with olive oil and put on salad leaves.

Small gestures are enough. Small gestures have a way of creating plenty.

Still feel a bit stuck for ideas? Here’s a suggested list of Seven Small (and Joyful) Gestures for Earth Day.

1.    When you see some litter, pick it up and put it in an appropriate recycling receptacle.
2.    If you have a garden, plant something beautiful to your eye.
3.    Take a walk with a toddler. Notice how they make you notice bugs and other interesting things nearer ground level. Feel their rapture and wonder at the world.
4.    Carpool for the school or work run and share the fuel costs four ways. Do the math and see if the savings are an incentive to do this on a regular basis.
5.    Visit a Farmer’s Market and buy your fruit and vegetables non-wrapped in plastic. Have fun squeezing the melons and avocados.
6.    Line dry your laundry and indulge in the sweet scent of fresh air on your linens.
7.    Make dinner with seasonal fruit and vegetables for your zone, using locally sourced produce.

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About BeeSmith

I was born in Queens, N.Y, reared in Pennsylvania, did university in Washington, D.C. Then I moved to England for nineteen years. I lived first in London and then in Leeds. After my partner's sister died of cancer in 2000, we decided to take the leap of faith and move to Ireland to be nearer his family. Despite our friends thinking we were mad and feckless, it has worked out. The angels really do look after fools! We have a cottage on an acre and a quarter three miles from where the River Shannon rises. We have a polytunnel to grow vegetables and fruit organically, a small orchard of apple trees and plans to create a sacred space on the land over the rest of our lifetimes. We share our home with two tortoiseshell cats, Zelda and her daughter Zymina, and three dogs, Murphy, Pippin and Cara.