Earth Day at 40

Happy Earth Day!

Forty years ago today, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin inspired millions to celebrate our beautiful earth. Now, every year on April 22, people throughout the world are doing just that.

I’ve done my own bit of celebrating, as well.

Preserving heritage trees

Last weekend, my husband and I took a fun trip to the Seedsavers Exchange in Decorah, IA. We’ve always been avid gardeners and food preservationists, but lately we’ve developed a growing interest in heirloom varieties (note the pun). This is partly a result of recognizing that our original fruit orchard, once populated with 8-10 old-time trees, is quickly dying away. We want to preserve these cultivars before they’re lost forever.

And so, we went to the Seedsavers’ Heirloom Grafting Seminar. We learned to take a cutting from one variety and graft it to the rootstock of another, more available variety. We came home with the six heirloom trees you see in the photo above, plus we now know how to do the same for our own trees. (Actually grafting is pretty simple and we could have figured this out ourselves. But it’s more fun to learn hands-on and the Seedsaver’s Farm is really cool.)

So that was one of our Earth Day celebrations. Yesterday was another.

A Caring Upcoming Generation

Yesterday we went to the Nelson Institute Earth Day Conference in Madison, WI. We went specifically to see the awards presentation for the Climate Leadership Challenge. Wow, talk about talented and innovative young people. You have to admire this generation’s creative impact on our social and environmental world.

Sustainable Design

And lastly, in the evening I attended AIGA’s Green Salon seminar on sustainable design and business solutions, held at the Urban Ecology Center in Milwaukee.

Okay, I have to admit, yesterday I put a lot of miles on my car going between Madison and Milwaukee. That’s definitely not an efficient use of a non-sustainable fuel, something we Wisconsinites don’t often consider, but should (when is that high speed rail coming to our dairy state?). But the venue was definitely great and the presentation by John Harris, of a5 group, from Chicago, was interesting.

All in all, I had a fun celebration of Earth Day—lots of things to think about and put into practice.

This is God’s earth, after all. And we are his caretakers.

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