This month, when my family and I were looking around for virtual ways to volunteer during Earth Day, I realized the way I feel about being a lawyer runs parallel to the way I feel about being a citizen of the planet. You’ve heard me say in previous newsletters that when it comes to my work, my goal is always to ensure my clients are in a better place when they leave my office than they were when they came in. Well, I have the same mindset every time I head outdoors to take in the natural beauty California has to offer: I aim to leave things better than I found them.
As a father of three young children, Earth Day really resonates with me. I’ve been aware of the April 22 holiday ever since my college days, when one of my best friends was the environmental chair of a committee that helped plan our school’s Earth Day festivities. The day was a big deal for her and the rest of the campus, and I always enjoyed participating. But as important as respecting the Earth was to me back then, looking at my girls, I can’t help but think it’s even more important now.
It’s painfully clear that not everyone prioritizes the planet, but as a father, I do. I want to leave things in better shape for my daughters than they were when I got here, and I want them to be able to enjoy California’s beautiful beaches, mountains, and oceans just like I have. Those natural features are a big part of the reason why Lyn and I chose to live in California in the first place. We love to spend time outside walking the dog, paddleboarding, hiking, and swimming, and this is one of the few places where you can do that in comfort year-round. For Lyn’s birthday in February, we took the girls to Muir Beach and played around in our shorts and T-shirts, embracing the environment and enjoying nature. What better place to do that than at a beach named for John Muir, one of our country’s most celebrated environmentalists and the father of the National Parks system.
There are a lot of different ways to get involved on Earth Day, but one of my favorites is volunteering. This year, with the Coronavirus and Shelter in Place, we won’t get to participate in a creek cleanup or beach trash pickup, but when I can, I’m there. Lyn and I take Emmie, Gigi, and Sloane with us to volunteer sometimes, too. I think it’s important for them to be aware of what’s going on with the environment and how vital it is to give back to the community. We’ve tried to teach them that even though people pollute and don’t pick up their trash (something that frustrates even my 8-year-olds), it’s our job to do what we can to take care of the planet.
Hopefully, I explain, that will help inspire the litterbugs to clean up their act in the future. In my mind, the bottom line is that the Earth is a living being, and it’s up to us to take care of it. It’s also up to us to take care of one another, which is what I try to do in my law practice every day. If you have big plans for Earth Day or know about a great volunteer opportunity, please share your thoughts with me next time we speak. My family, my staff, and I are always looking for new ways to give back.