April 22, 2010

We Can Make Earth Day Obsolete




I celebrated Earth Day for most of my life, but no more. I am finished with it, and I think that the planet is getting a little sceptical, too.

Earth Day began 40 years ago with grand intentions, but did Senator Nelson and the 20 million Americans that participated in that first year really intend it to be around 4 decades later? Surely they wished to make such an obvious and critical day obsolete as soon as possible. They were responding to a perceived environmental crisis, after all, and time was of the essence. A TV show that first year called Earth Day: A Question of Survival, would not be out of place on our wide-screen plasma TVs today.

The goal was to increase awareness in government and corporate board rooms of the importance of sustainability so that environmental crisis could be averted. Now here we are 40 years later trying to do the same thing, except now we, the people, are co-conspirators in the environmental mess. We vote with our dollars, and since 1970 we have been voting for consumer items and luxury rather than for appreciation and respect for the planet and its other life forms.

Earth Day has been a positive force for change, but it has ultimately failed to wake us up to any truly meaningful change. Not to say that there haven't been worthy changes since 1970, but most of them pale in comparison to the devastation that we continue to inflict. Our environment is in as much of a crisis as it was in 1970. Earth Day is unfortunately as necessary today as it was 40 years ago.

Let's do what Senator Nelson and the initial organizers of Earth Day must have envisioned in their most optimistic moments - that their special one day a year would soon become obsolete as changes were made and the planet healed itself. We can do this thing.

Let us make it obsolete by immediately becoming as non-destructive and sustainable as we can possibly be at this time. Let every day be a day that we focus on our appreciation and respect for the planet that sustains us. Let this 40th Anniversary be the (B)Earth of a new way of living more gently in cooperation with each other and everything else.

Let's give Nelson and the Earth something to celebrate.

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