Free Earth Day Gift for Everyone

Tomorrow is Earth Day, and I've been surprised by the plethora of contests and events I've seen on blogs, websites, and elsewhere. I've been even more surprised that many contests and events involved either travel (win a trip to Puerto Rico!) or stuff.

Now, I'm sorry to say, but flying to Puerto Rico is not a good way to reduce your carbon footprint. Gary Snyder famously said, when asked how to solve the Earth's ecological problems "Stay Put." (He didn't just mean don't go anywhere. And I admit there are many reasons why a trip might be the right thing to do. But a plane trip just seems an odd Earth Day prize).

Even more troublesome to me is the stuff you can win, or get for free. I recently had the great pleasure of listening to a presentation by Annie Leonard. Her FREE 20 minute, The Story of Stuff, is a must watch for anyone who cares about the environment. Based on decades of research, she eloquently (and entertainingly) demonstrates that we're in the process of making the Earth uninhabitable because we can't stop our addiction to stuff. And what was her advice? Not to buy more efficient light bulbs but to lean more heavily on the government. Be more political, she advises, and speak your truth.

So, where's that free Earth Day gift, you ask? Well, first, you get to watch the movie The Story of Stuff. It really is good fun, and she's as strong on the problem as on the solution.

And second, I present you this:

(Cartoon by Jennifer Berman)

Yes, leave a comment on this blog, and I'll send you NOTHING! (If you don't leave a comment, maybe I'll send you some STUFF, you'll have to wait to find out.)

I hope you really enjoy the gift, and also appreciate that you don't have to go all out with your Thank You note. I'd like to suggest you sit in your garden, for maybe 15 minutes on Earth Day. Hold the gift in your hand, or put it down. Then listen to the sounds of the insects and the birds. Smell the deep rich earth, or maybe some sages and mints nearby. Gaze around and enjoy the greens of spring (or the fall colors if you live on the other side of the world). Take your time. You don't have to unwrap Nothing,  paint Nothing, or install Nothing,  You can instead enjoy things as they are. 

Happy Earth Day!


Anonymous said…
Ooh, I want some nothing! Me, me! I think I should get an extra helping of nothing for being the first to comment.
Country Mouse said…
Totally wonderful post!

The software release is almost out - and then I'm certainly going to celebrate by doing a lot of Nothing! - And maybe I'll resume blogging again too! Thanks TM for all your posts lately. I know you're not exactly doing a lot of Nothing yourself right now.
Sue Langley said…
Hi Mouse, this is a great subject and a good one for people to think about as most shop, shop, shop without much thought about how much they comsume. Wikipedia has an odd page listing things you can do without comsuming anything and photography and gardening are on the list. And Sunset Magazine had that article about the family that has NO trash...that shocked many into figuring out what more they could do without. Us, too.
BTW, my husband and I have a tradition of not shopping at stores when giving gifts to each other. We would rather give each a 'gift' of a drive somewhere, a fishing trip for him, a dinner out or some other experience-type gift. That's why I sometimes get a load of rocks for my birthday.
Now I have to go clean out my junk closet...that's my weakness.
Christine said…
Is there a pdf I can download online that has instructions on how to care for my new nothing?
We decided not to register for our wedding and just enjoy the presence of our friends and family. Folks are really having a hard time with that! It's as if the only way they can communicate their love is by buying us something.
So with that, I really appreciate your gift of nothing and hope you enjoy the nothing I'm sending back to you as thanks.
Diana Studer said…
There is a book on Celtic Christianity - which includes words something like this - I give you a nothingness which you can fill. The empty box in your cartoon. In a profound way, the greatest gift you can give someone.
Chandramouli S said…
That was a thought provoking post and a really, really, really nice one. Nothing is better.
It rained on Earth Day here - unexpected and most welcomed. It was really special!
Anonymous said…
Great post, Town Mouse. I think I saw The Story of Stuff when it first came out a couple of years ago; but it was well worth watching again. I celebrated Earth Day by working in the garden, and I'm happy to say that none of my spring clean-up produced trash. -Jean
Dear TM, Very thought-provoking! We are so obsessed with owning STUFF and I am guilty in many ways. Love this refreshing posting. P x
Love love love it! I couldn't agree more. I shattered my attachment to stuff years ago when I up rooted from where I'd lived for 12 years and sold the house - stuff included. I traveled round the world with two rucksacs - that was all the stuff I needed and probably more. A great lesson in decluttering. When we moved to the US we did the same again - just arrived with a case each and used a huge cardboard box as our dining room table for the first month - it was fun and let us pretend to be young and broke (as opposed to old and broke!) for a while. Thanks for a wonderful gift!
lostlandscape said…
This is a perfect aim for Earth Day and the rest of the year. In this culture it's a radical idea, isn't it?

I'd like to reach nothing-ness, but for the times I succumb I hope select yes-things that are simpler, better-made, locally-grown, locally-sourced, more fuel-efficient, non-polluting, organic, socially responsible and not tested on laboratory mice (or garden mice either!). I hope you got what you wanted for Earth Day.
ryan said…
Well put. I love the cartoon. Nothing is exactly what I wanted for earth day and my recent birthday too. I still have a few persistent gift givers in my life, despite my efforts. Maybe I should think to myself, what would the dalai lama want, WWDLW, and then tell everyone that that's what they should get me.
There's nothing stuffier than stuff. We should always think twice about everything we use!