The Beauty and Value of the Quotidian


(Photo Credit: Red Bubble)

Too often we overlook the beauty and value of phenomena present in everyday life.  If we would look around us each day, there are things to adore and treasure.  Let’s never forget to be thankful for the beauty of the natural world.  We can honor the beauty of the natural world by doing things necessary to maintain and protect it.  Being an environmentalist doesn’t have to be an overtly political act.  While we can have honest disagreements about how to take care of our environment, there shouldn’t be anyone who is disinterested in doing things essential to preserve it.

When you’re blessed to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day, take a moment to reflect on how appreciative you should be.  Never take anything for granted.  When we take for granted the beauty and significance of quotidian things, we’re not able to experience an authentic appreciation of those things that aren’t mundane.

K – 12 educators should work to instill in students an appreciation for the value and beauty of the quotidian.  We could begin to see a greater value for natural resources and a culture of life when we start teaching people about the importance of things that are commonplace.  Many of the things that we perceive as average are really far beyond average when we devote enough time to analyzing those things thoroughly.

Some people who live in large cities try to look down on those who reside in the country.  While there are numerous things to value about everyday life the city, there are some naturally beautiful phenomena in the country one cannot find in the city.  Those who live in the country shouldn’t feel any lesser than those who live in the city.

The Red Wheelbarrow, a poem penned by William Carlos Williams, affords us an opportunity to see the value of appreciating the quotidian when we engage in a critical analysis of this poem.  On the surface, this poem appears to be boring and simply about a red wheelbarrow.  When we look more closely at the poem, we are able to appreciate the labor of the workers who have constructed this red wheelbarrow, and we can also appreciate the beauty of nature.

What are some common things present in your daily life that you value and find beautiful?  

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Practical Ways to Go Green

Going green does not have to be an intensely political thing to do, especially if we focus on practical ways to go green. While we have serious disagreements on the issue of global climate change, there are things that every American can do in his or her daily life to improve our natural environment. A deep concern about ecological sustainability should be embraced by every American. We don’t have to agree on every issue pertaining to the environmental sustainability discourse, but we should all have a commitment to protecting and sustaining our natural environment. After all, we all depend on a healthy natural environment for our survival.

Why would you turn on every light in every room of your home when you’re not even using those rooms? Use only the necessary lighting for your home. You will find that this will help you to save on your energy bill. With gas prices continuing to rise, it would help to reduce air pollution and the need to consume so much gas if we would choose to do more walking and riding of our bikes to our destinations that are within reasonable distance. Again, this will help you to save money—while improving our natural environment. Imagine how healthier you will become through this form of exercise too.

One of the most significant ways that you can go green is to move as close to being paperless in your daily operations as possible. If you do not have to use paper, then simply don’t use it. If you have to use paper, then purchase recycled paper. For instance, students should not purchase notebook paper unless their teachers require them to turn in assignments on notebook paper. Use your laptops and desktops more to execute the tasks you currently use paper to complete. When you buy paper for your printers, use recycled paper.

Begin to actively recycle plastic bottles, newspaper, and other recyclable items in your home.

Don’t keep your cellular phone plugged up to the charger when it’s completely charged—unplug it. Additionally, don’t leave your laptop charging overnight while you’re sleep—unplug it.

When the temperature in your home is at a level where it’s tolerable for you to not turn on the heat or air, exercise some restraint and don’t turn on the heat or air. As the weather warms up, consider opening the windows of your home instead using the air conditioner.

When you wash your clothing, try to wait until you have a larger load of clothes to wash instead of a few items here and there.

The aforementioned phenomena can be done with relative ease and would not only save you a significant amount of money, but would also have a meaningful impact on ameliorating our natural environment and would earnestly help to promote the cause of ecological sustainability. It is essential that we become more educated about ecological sustainability. The greatest challenge that the peer-reviewed literature has found to enhancing efforts to become ecological sustainable is the need to increase education about ecological sustainability.

Let’s go green without making this an overly political phenomenon. Embrace more green practices in your daily life!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Earth Day and a More Evironmentally Sustainable Future

No matter what our political ideologies and affiliations, we all should take a serious interest in our environment. Although there are specific methods of ameliorating the environment and sustaining it that are controversial, there are fundamental and practical ways to improve and sustain it that we all can agree on. Each year, Earth Day offers us an opportunity to unite to enhance and maintain our environment. The purpose of this article is to speak about the significant potential in Earth Day and to provide phenomena we all can engage in to ameliorate and sustain our environment.

I have always been tremendously disappointed about how little attention Earth Day receives. Earth Day should be everyday! We to have a more complex understanding of Earth Day as a signal of how much more value we should place on the environment in our daily lives. The need to have an “Earth Day” should help us to recognize that we are not doing enough to ameliorate the environment, and be good stewards of the environment. The “going green” movement is simply not enough to achieve good stewardship and improvement of our environment. While there is much discourse taking place across the nation about environmental sustainability, there has not been a significant improvement in actually moving toward a more sustainable environment.

Although we have not done all that we can do to move toward a more sustainable environment, we can begin to by adopting a more common sense approach. We can have monthly times of solidarity where we (on a national level) participate in picking up trash in our communities and find items to recycle. Local communities can hold meetings to establish tree planting projects. Using various forms of communication, discourses about how to live more environmentally sustainable personal lives and within our communites can emerge. Establishing a national discourse at the local community level about environmental sustainability is a critical way of enhancing the significance of Earth Day. These aforementioned recommendations would not involve much stress for individuals throughout the nation, but the implementation of these recommendations would dramatically buttress our environment, and will help us to move toward a more environomentally sustainable future.

No longer can we sit back and mock “tree huggers” and no longer can we simply be “tree huggers.” We have to work colloboratively to find consensus on how we can protect, perserve, and restore our environment. I encourage everyone to participate in Earth Day today and to make Earth Day an everyday reality!

Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison