A nag-free Earth Day


On this Earth Day, I’m not going to nag. I’m not going to tell you to turn off the lights or put on a sweater or take the bus to work.

Nope. On this Earth Day, I don’t want you to even spend any money (or save any for that matter). All I want is for you to go outside and take a walk. That’s all. There are three rivers in this city plus an embarrassment of other green riches in the form of parks, streams, wetlands and meadows, so there is no lack of pleasant places to stroll.IMG_20150412_125703-EFFECTS

Walking reminds us that we are still alive and of why we do the things that we do. It can be a time to reflect, or a time to zone out. It can be an opportunity to discover new things, or take comfort in familiar places.

While you walk, here’s a few things to keep in mind.

Breathe. The atoms in the air that you breathe are and have been shared by your family, your best friends and worst enemies, not to mention all of the other life forms on the planet, living or dead. You don’t have to spend too much time thinking about this, unless you’re in need of an existential side trip.

Look up. You’IMG_20150914_104445d be surprised at what you find. Last year around this time, I spotted two male merlins duking it out over Churchill Avenue. There’s always a nice collection of shoes to be seen hanging from various telephone and hydro wires, or strange designs in the shadows.

Look down. A good way to find loose change, but also to answer the question: What’s that rustling in the mulch?

Spot the garter snake!

Spot the garter snake!

Get high. Get to the highest point that you can in your neighbourhood and take a look around. What can you see from there that you can’t on the ground?


Listen. Take out those blasted ear buds, put away the phone, close your eyes and just listen for a while. Where’s that woodpecker you can hear? What sounds is the wind making? Try to walk as silently as you can for a few minutes. (It’s harder than it seems at first blush.)

Find your delights. Everyone needs a little delight in their lives; those sometimes odd things that no one else IMG_20150515_113430-EFFECTSfinds beautiful except you. I can delight in the most mundane things: a weird pattern made by drying water, graffiti, trees that seem to smile. It doesn’t have to mean anything to anyone but you, because in the end everything is beautiful. To someone.

Happy Earth Day!

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