Monday, October 13, 2014

Reflections on Columbus Day and Canadian Thanksgiving

Monday October 13th is Columbus day in most parts of the new world, in Canada it is Thanksgiving. Columbus day and Canadian Thanksgiving offer us an opportunity to reflect and be grateful for the bounty of life in the new world. It is also propitious that we should think about our impact on the natural world at this time of year. Since 1970, Columbus day has been celebrated on the second Monday in October. As of 1959, this day is also Thanksgiving in Canada. Columbus day marks the start of our habitation of the new world and Thanksgiving is a time where we express our gratitude for the bountiful harvests nature provides.

Many countries in the New World celebrate the anniversary of Christopher Columbus' arrival in the Americas, which happened on October 12, 1492, as a holiday or official celebration. Columbus Day became a federal holiday in the United States in 1937, though people have celebrated Columbus's voyage since the colonial period.

Whether we celebrate Columbus day or Thanksgiving, this is the perfect time to cultivate gratitude for our good fortune and reflect on our egregious environmental impacts. Such an awareness can give way to modes of life more in harmony with the natural world.

Columbus day marks the genesis of our exploitation of the new world and Canadian Thanksgiving commemorates nature's gifts. As we ebb ever closer to irreversible tipping points, we must seize the opportunity to deepen our commitments to greener living and more sustainable practices.

This is an ideal time to acknowledge our impacts and realize that we must change our relationship to nature and our limited planetary resources. This is a time to show our appreciation for the environment by learning to be better stewards of the earth.

Related
Environmental Gratitude and Ecological Advocacy
Thanksgiving: Living in Harmony with the Planet
A Holiday Infused with Environmental Gratitude
Thanksgiving for those who Feel Thankless
Video - Thank You for Taking Action to Save the Climate!
Video - Gratitude for Nature (2011): Documentary Filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg Tedx
Video - Nature's Beauty: Life is a Gift and the Only Appropriate Response is Gratefulness
Seven Ways to Make Your Thanksgiving Greener
The Environmental Toll of Thanksgiving
The Days of Overconsumption

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