Earth Day is symbolic for each of us around the world to stop and take notice how we’re treating the environment. Gaylord Nelson, founder of Earth Day, (April 22, 1970) said “if we fail to make the right decisions, nature will make them for us, and for all future generations.”

Our Earth Day mission, therefore, is to help improve our attitude, sharpen our awareness, and take action for a healthier planet.

Gaylord Nelson’s important body of work, Beyond Earth Day, Fullfilling the Promise (University of Wisconsin Press, 2002) needs to be in every library, and if possible, in every household. This book is required reading to help create awareness of the environmental changes that have already begun since the first Earth Day 41 years ago, and that are still necessary in our lifetime.

Imagine if we can find out one thing we care about, like food production, air and water quality, ecology, or renewable energy.  Stephen Covey, author of The 8th Habit, From Effectiveness to Greatness (Free Press, 2005) said, “if people can develop a skill or competency that is in alignment with a fundamental gift or talent that they have, their attitude toward themselves, toward others, and toward life significantly improves.”

Reading Gaylord Nelson’s book will help improve our attitude and create awareness by seeking to understand first.

Also, as consumers, we are the best force to take action. Consumer choices are the driving force in determining how green a market will be and how we can become agents of sustainability and forces of positive change.

Wendy Jedlicka, Eco-Designer and Adjunct Faculty, Sustainable Design at Minnesota College of Art and Design offers some great suggestions how we can take action with eco friendly packaging.

Look at the packaging of every product you buy. Is the package over packaged? If the package is plastic, is it a positive feature for the end user? A good example of a reasonable application for plastic packaging is shampoo bottles made out of plastic rather than glass for safety reasons.

When you see a friend using a product that has a good eco alternative, casually mention it. The buying choices each of us make have a direct impact on how those forces shape our world.

Now ask yourself, are the products you buy environmentally safe? Environmentally safe is good for the planet, but is it safe for human consumption?  May I suggest, read and understand the labels and be proactive about buying organic food. Are there choices that allow you to buy certified organic food? If not, request organic food from your local market or wherever you buy food. See how you feel, then.

Remember, every purchase we make is a statement how we really feel about the environment, and helping to make a healthier planet.