On a bright but rather windy Earth Day I was a few hours away from starting work and sitting there by the window inside Emporio Rulli Caffe right on Union Square. If it weren’t for the wind, I would definitely have been out amongst this central hub of San Francisco’s downtown. Also, there’s the gardens– the boxed succulents low on the ground alongside steel patio chairs and lush palms restless like they were trying to swat away at this wind. If only they could.
I used to be SUCH an enthusiastic environmentalist back in my teens. In 2007 right around the renewal of global warming awareness post-An Inconvenient Truth, bright-eyed me really convinced myself that anything helped– any little part on my behalf would add to the whole of preserving the beauties of the natural world– and I’d inspire my peers to do so, too. The true driving force I confess behind all this work was the height of going green in the late 2000s and my age. Lack of any experience– but well-read knowledge from NRDC and Change.org spammesque emails was my proof to people that just because you’re a dumpy little teenager it doesn’t mean you don’t care about important global issues. Statin the first environmental-conscious club in my high school and holding fundraisers and petitions almost every month and signing up for beach clean ups no one ever really got around to attending– I tried doing it all before I was even eighteen. Well done! is what I would say to myself back then, coming from now. But now, I do wonder what happened. Where’s my enthusiasm gone?
I think that was the actualization of adulthood. Being a teen didn’t mean you didn’t care abut things that actually mattered– but that you could afford to without other discomforts of bills, a job, and saving on money. You don’t typically have those things as a kid, but you did have doe-eyed passions without really the support systems or connection you gain as an adult. Regardless, I’m relaxed now about saving the environment, my past goes to show that it’s never too late to get caring.
It doesn’t meant I could care less about the environment anymore either. What helps is that as I got older I wasn’t alone– especially as I moved to San Francisco. Everyone here was getting on board with going green. Also, it’s SAN FRANCISCO!! It started with the compost bins, and now it’s the norm to ban plastic bags and bike and upcycle almost everything. So I guess the load’s been taken off my back and just assimilated into the Norm.
Being from California it’s in your backbone to love nature. I grew up in a rich, fresh-scented foothill town of a brooding sharp mountain East of San Francisco. Yes, Mt. Diablo is the other mountain of the Bay Area besides Mt. Tamalpais, and just as beautiful, roaming hills of oaks and yellow mustard weeds and gorgeous weather. I do love being out here, living at home and almost like a nature retreat with a view of the mountain just from my bedroom window. Then there’s the oceans, the majestic Redwoods and cliffs that edge along Yosemite and meet the Sierras, and the starlit deserts in the nighttime with stretched out roads in miles of heat, leading into dreams and uncertainty alike. California is an amazing state in just how geographically diverse it is. Love it all; almost every day of my life has been Earth Day to some extent; just about every day there’s something naturally wonderful to be seen. The most surprising is within in a sprawling, urban environment like San Francisco. I’m so fascinated at a city like itself’s efforts in uniting green with concrete; landscaping hard rooftops with Babylonian-like gardens and transforming old lots and narrow alleys into lush and secretive forests. And Golden Gate Park. You can even go see a remarkable example of natural states existing in such a place as a cityscape at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. Acquariums to a tropical rainforest contained in a dome, to a living rooftop breathing and living and maintaining life for native flora. Brilliant.
I leave this post with you to take note of those simple pleasures around you, the wild and free, for free. Here are some interesting links, mostly for California-based organizations, on how to really contribute in the successes of our natural world.
NRDC, Natural Resources Defense Council… Petitions and up to date on global environmental issues. Shamelessly found out about NRDC when Green Day teamed up with them. I
loved (and still love) Green Day around the same time as I went green.
Save the [San Francisco] Bay… Check out their calendar of clean up events and volunteer for healthier, pretty beaches.
The Marine Mammal Center (in Northern California)… Donate and get a photo of the dear sea lion/ porpoise/ seal you helped.
World Wildlife Fund… Donate and get a really spiffy and cuddly stuffed animal of your choice, almost on any species!