It’s become an annual tradition at Renewable Choice to celebrate Earth Day by cleaning up the wild areas near our office. We’re fortunate to be alongside Boulder Creek, and many small mammals, birds, and insects call the area home.
Every year, it always astonishes just how much trash we pick up. This year, about 75% of our staff was on hand to participate, and we collectively generated about 20 industrial-sized garbage bags of waste. That’s what we were able to pick up within about a quarter-square mile radius of our front door.
When you extrapolate that figure to the lands outside our immediate vicinity, the impact we have as humans on ecosystems and waterways simply boggles the mind. Much of what we picked up today was recyclable, and even more of it was plastic. Piece after piece of plastic.
Recycling is critical, and so is reuse. But the waste lifecycle starts with reducing the amount of trash we generate. In our own industry, the energy lifecycle starts with reducing the amount of energy we consume. Doing either requires mindfulness. Earlier in the week, we had a zero waste day and many of us became aware of how easy it is to “throw things away” rather than making the trek to the compost bin in our company kitchen. There is no “away,” and, outside of what the sun gives us, energy is finite.
Conservation is a critical part of the puzzle of solving the dilemma in which we find ourselves as a species, and it is the area in which each of us as individuals can have the most profound impact. It’s easy to get paralyzed by the enormity of the mess we’ve created—but it’s relatively simple to start to make changes in our lives that will get us back on a sustainable course.
Earth Day is an important global event, but let us not forget that we must create Earth Day in every moment. Before we buy, before we consume, we can be present with our choices and make better ones. We don’t have to be heroic in our efforts, and nor do we have to make radical sustainability our path. We can start simply.
That’s how things began for us here at Renewable Choice 15 years ago. Today, we’re proud to be part of a growing international movement to transition our economy to one that is circular and carbon-free. We hope you’ll join us.