Jim Poyser left his long career in journalism to become executive director of Earth Charter Indiana in 2013. ECI’s youth program, Youth Power Indiana, engages youth in stewardship and leadership practices; ECI’s other main program is Sustainable Indiana 2016, which encourages sustainability actions across the state.
When people ask me why I never take a day off from my work at Earth Charter Indiana, I always kid them with the following thought experiment: Do you ever wake up, get ready to go work, open the door, and there’s no there there?
Mother Nature never takes a day off, why should I?
Funny thing is, it’s true. I don’t take days off, and I actually wouldn’t know what that meant anyway. I am very fortunate that my job is my passion and engages all of my creativity. How do you take a day off from that?
That’s what I would wish for YOU this Earth Day: that you find a similar arrangement – if you haven’t already – for yourself. I submit it doesn’t even have to be about stewardship, per se, just an alignment of heart, purpose and personal sustainability.
So what do we do at Earth Charter Indiana? Find the interconnections between our too-numerous-to-count global challenges—environmental degradation, economic disparity and political apathy. Right now, because there are so few organizations in Indiana directly fighting climate change, we are focusing on that, connecting the dots around sustainability and stewardship.
To that end we combine art with science to celebrate and showcase our growing consciousness and action. We aim to raise everyone to leadership, especially our youth. But I don’t think you need to read about that right now. You can click on the links in my bio, below, to explore more.
Instead, in this short space I have, I will make the assumption you know something is terribly wrong in the way we live; it’s not sustainable. We’ve become disconnected from nature and democracy. All the creatures are suffering from it. And we have to change quickly to head off the worst effects of our climate crisis and consumer craziness.
What to do? The answers are standard but true. Pick something you love that also demonstrates your love for the earth and do it well and all the time. For me, it is riding my bicycle as much as possible, even in terrible weather. For you, it might be being vegetarian or vegan. Or growing your own food. Or reducing your waste to the point where your trash can gathers cobwebs!
Once you get started on that garden or that waste reduction project at home, etc., then take it to your neighborhood and to your place of employment.
Take your growing awareness and action and go to the next level: demand your institutions (including your own personal portfolio) take their investments out of fossil fuels and put them into clean energy like solar and wind. Divestment is one of the most powerful movements imaginable (money talks!)—and it is happening on a worldwide basis.
Run for office, or support a candidate who shares your urgency and is not afraid to go against the political popularity contest our democratic system has become.
Have courageous conversations with those who are unwilling to grasp scientific reality or to accept the responsibility of being a good steward.
Hug a teacher, for they could use the encouragement.
Mostly, be joyful and happy in the progress you make, because it will inspire others to create their own adventure of living every day as if it were Earth Day.