Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day

Earth Day is celebrating it's 40th year. As a parent with school-age children, one hears about the importance of this day, from a child's perspective. Rather than looking at the macro--at issues that are so big that in fact cause "decision paralysis" among many of us--children have a way of concentrating on the micro--on manageable, small changes we can all make that collectively make a difference.

There are lots of sites that have information on Earth Day and ways to make a difference in a personally relavent manner. Just do a quick google search and you'll find lots of great websites, blogs, and tips.

How about re-using that printed sheet of paper, flipping it over, and running the back-side through the printer when we are just printing out receipts or "works in progress?" Or don't print it at all...or, how about using discarded sheets of paper for scrap paper? Seems simple enough, but you'd be surprised how often we waste opportunities to be "green," because it's just not on our radar. Our girls are even re-using poster board from projects they've completed, and always find use for wasted or discarded printed paper, for solving math problems, scribbling, or test practice.

When Pete and I were in Chile, we made notes as to how even the liquor stores collected the empty bottles from clients who visited the shops to purchase new bottles of wine. And, in India, we witnessed the work of "rag pickers," people who have little in life and who sift through garbage to pick out rags/fabrics, which can be reused; nothing is wasted. Bottles are recycled or reused, tins the same, plastic too. Perhaps we can learn from our third world nation neighbors, who have considerably less, but who help keep our planet green, on these very basic levels.

Reusing, reducing and recycling are big buzz words today. So is "going green." Even small acts can help, and sometimes, that is a huge accomplishment. Making this personal commitment with one's family is a major step!

In a sense, we have tried to make that commitment at The National Hotel too, being very conscious of the paper we waste, the electricity we use, the sustainability of the building in general. We are constantly assessing and reassessing our operations, our business plan, vendor practices, etc., and we know we can do better...but every little step counts. And our Frenchtown neighbors often do the dame. Many have their own gardens, composte waste, walk or ride bikes instead of driving, and enjoy walking down the Towpath that abutts the Delaware River choosing to be outside with nature rather than consuming energy indoors or increasing their carbon footprint.

Frenchtown is just a gem of a town, an innovative, forward-thinking community, full of artists, entrepreneurs and caring individuals. I've often written about the breadth and range of artistic endeavors that happen right in the town. All you need to do is come out and listen to our poets on Poetry Open Mic Sundays, or join us tonight at The Rathskeller Pub Lounge to be a part of (in action or by supporting them by being present and listening to) the musicians who take the microphone every Thursday night at 9 p.m. (sign-ups are at 8:30 p.m.) for Open Mic Night. It really is's going on right now...are you there?

And what a great way to celebrate Earth Day--together!