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indexNWEI partner organization Catamount Earth Institute  just wrapped up a two week EcoChallenge, inspired by NWEI’s annual EcoChallenge held each October. For the past two weeks, leading up to today’s Earth Day, participants with Catamount Earth Institute in Vermont have formally challenged themselves to change at least one habit for the good of the Earth. Many participating maintained a blog about their adventures in taking action to address Food, Energy, Transportation, Trash and Water issues. Click here to browse stories of change.

The Catamount Earth Institute EcoChallengers are meeting today, on Earth Day, in Norwich, Vermont for a celebratory potluck and an exchange of challenges and solutions.

Happy Earth Day to all in NWEI’s broader community!

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Today marks the 41st anniversary of Earth Day, with an estimated 1 billion people likely participating – making it perhaps the largest secular civic event in the world (wow!).  This week, during Oil and Our Lifestyles: A Month of Action, we have turned our focus to community and culture, and how we can be agents of change in our respective circles of influence. What better day than today to reflect on our wider community of Earth?

Chief Seattle said it well when he said, “The earth does not belong to humans, humans belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Humans did not weave the web of life, they are merely a strand in it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.”

Today is a day to remember these interconnections.  Take time throughout the day to simply notice the many things outside of your physical body that are essential for your survival – and feel gratitude for these things. 

Today’s proposed action is:   Make a list of  some of the key actions you’ve taken this month to address oil and your lifestyle.  Pick one of these actions that you’ve taken this month and dedicate yourself to doing that one action indefinitely going forward.

(*If you’re just joining us here on NWEI’s blog, scroll below for a host of simple actions you can take and read on to see what others have been committing to during this month of action). 

We don’t have to ‘should’ ourselves into making lifelong changes – whether big or small.  We can instead shift towards the life we most want to be living because we are called to act in service of Life from a place of gratitude and from a place of understanding our interconnectedness with that which is beyond ourselves.  In this way we can slowly shift our awareness and actions to serving Life at large – and every day is an opportunity to practice this understanding and intention.

Every action we take impacts a greater web of community.  As Thich Nhat Hanh says, “Our way of walking on the Earth has a great influence…The future of all life, including our own, depends on our mindful steps.”  Today and always, may we take mindful steps – remembering that every gesture of simplicity, sustainability and kindness truly makes a difference.

*Stay tuned next week as we dive into our final week of Oil and Our Lifestyles: A Month of Action, where we’ll be exploring sustainable and local food choices – join us!

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