The 6th Anniversary of the BP Oil Spill

Ironically, it was just two days before Earth Day in 2010 when the Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 men and spewing at least 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf. So many of us watched in horror as method after method failed. The oil well gushed for 87 days, killing wildlife and sliming beaches. Every time I started my car, I felt dirty.

The following year, a group of like-minded friends, who I only knew on social media, organized a Bike Power Week for Earth Day. If we structured our lives to use less oil, perhaps oil companies wouldn’t need to drill a mile beneath the ocean floor with untested equipment to feed our addiction. We encouraged everyone to garage the car for a day, to see how this experiment might shift how we live every other day of our lives.

On April 22, 2011, just going one day without driving was a huge challenge for me. I hadn’t prepared well, and had to walk for two hours round trip just to get breakfast. I was tempted to drive, but I walked any way. We received photos of families in Japan riding bikes to the local park, carrying signs for Bike Power. One mom held a bike drive at her school, and gave 35 bikes to underserved children in her community, who otherwise wouldn’t have had the means to purchase one.

This year, only five years later, I often go days without driving — sometimes weeks. I’ve cut my gasoline expenses by 85%. Yes, it requires planning and a lot of legwork. However, I now enjoy greater health. I fit into my jeans a lot better. I have more money for things that I enjoy, like vacations, rather than things that make me feel dirty. My hometown (Santa Monica, California) is even promoting Bike Power in a major way. There are Bike Centers all over town, rental bikes on many street corners, highly visible bike lanes and even a new Metro Rail.

That’s the power of taking a day to disrupt the routine and try something new. It’s contagious, empowering, enriching and healthy. I’m excited to see the ripple effects of powering up the gratitude and powering down the grid on a global scale this, and every, April 22nd — Earth Day.

What is the Global Earth Day Gratitude Celebration?
 From 7:30 to 8:30 PM on April 22, 2016 Earth Day (worldwide, in your own time zone) we’re encouraging everyone to power up the gratitude and power down your energy consumption​, getting as close to personal net zero as possible. Celebrate under the full moon. Dance under the stars. Dine by candlelight or LED candles. Count your blessings. Observe the fresh insights that flood your own awareness and the world consciousness, as we spend at least one hour on Earth Day giving thanks to Mother Nature with our words and actions. Be epic.

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