True Green Cities/Celebrating Ten+ Years: Happy Earth Day!

Sunrise over downtown Main Street, Buffalo, NY. Happy Earth Day!

Ten+ Years!  It’s been eleven years since I launched Barbara A. Campagna/Architecture + Planning, PLLC and while many things have changed, my goal to work on “greening what’s already here” continues to be met, often in places I never expected. It’s the 52nd Earth Day and as we emerge from our unexpected pandemic, let’s appreciate the world around us and welcome ourselves back to our community.

Celebrating Earth Day After the Pandemic

The first Earth Day was in April 1970.  Because there was no EPA, no Clean Air Act, no Clean Water Act.  There were no legal or regulatory mechanisms to protect our environment.  In spring 1970, Senator Gaylord Nelson, a democrat from Wisconsin, created Earth Day as a way to force this issue onto the national agenda. (from the EPA website)Earth Day is about respecting our planet and controlling climate change, being nice to our planet.  But to be nice to our planet, we need to be nice to ourselves too. So this Earth Day I’m celebrating returning to a healthy lifestyle, because the pandemic sent me into a uneasiness I found it difficult to climb out of.

On the last day of my anniversary week, I’m looking forward to completing my third week of working out six days a week.  When the pandemic began I thought I’d be working out constantly because there was nothing else to do.  And while I did participate in virtual yoga classes with my yoga studio and joined Apple Fitness+ for online weight training and yoga classes, I settled into a malaise and found it impossible to work out consistently.  I wanted to train for my first marathon this year in Hawaii – both the Honolulu Marathon’s 50th anniversary and a big birthday for me.  But as a fair-weather runner I rarely was interested in running outside with the cold, the rain or the humidity.  I still wasn’t comfortable going back to a gym.  And I kept beating myself up for all of this, continuing the cycle.   

But something clicked at the end of March.  I told myself it was okay to adjust my goals.  I didn’t have to run my first marathon this year.  Next year would be just as good.  So what could I do to get myself back into a work out routine and build up my endurance again?  I needed a plan and on the first Sunday in April I came up with one. I didn’t wake up planning to develop a plan, I just found myself looking outside and thinking “It’s time.” I rejoined my Spinning/Fitness Studio and reserved two spinning classes.  I scheduled two yoga classes online and I downloaded new Apple Fitness+ classes.  And more importantly I started working out again every day, with one day off each week.  It wasn’t actually very hard once I made the decision.  I love exercising so I was returning to something I enjoyed.

What is equally nice about working out again with a mixture of in-person classes and live streaming yoga is feeling like the part of communities again.  I’m talking to new people at the fitness studio.  I found a new yoga teacher in DC whose classes that my good friend in Seattle and I can take together.  I’m taking yoga with my favorite yoga teacher again online live. I am looking forward to every workout.  And I am eating better, drinking more water and just feeling better all around.  Work has continued to be insane and full of deadline after deadline even during the pandemic, but I’m finding myself not being quite so overwhelmed. And it is likely no surprise that in the past three weeks I have only had one full-blown migraine and one partial, when I was dealing with almost daily migraines for the past year.  

So on Earth Day, stop beating yourself up.  Allow yourself to adjust your work outs, your eating style.  Add one new work out, drink more water.  If you feel better, you can take better care of yourself and the planet.  I am celebrating my 11th work anniversary and the 52nd Earth Day by working as usual, followed with a Happy Hour Earth Day Party at my fitness studio followed by a new yoga class.  I will talk to at least one new person and I will drink a lot of water from my reusable thermos.  Happy Earth Day!