Okay, I Lied
And it was probably totally unnecessary, too, because you are the kind of person who cares about the planet and actually plans to read all the Earth Day posts coming out this weekend. But me? I usually skip them. It’s not that I don’t care, but at the ripe old age of 26 (again with the lying, someone slap me!) I find myself wondering if there is any more to Earth Day than free cups of coffee for bringing in a reusable mug, tote bags and bright green awareness bracelets. So I sort of lied . . . but not really . . . because actually I’m writing about YOU.
And the earth.
But mostly you. Let’s talk about the Earth first, though, okay?
Now where were we? Oh yeah, I’m not against swag. It’s pretty great stuff (mostly). And I actually use my tote bags, so there’s that. But have we let Earth Day become a PR opportunity for companies to tell us how much they care? And if so, do we believe them? One more question: Is there some wisdom in the old Cree Indian proverb, which says that:
“Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money”
~ Cree Indian Proverb
Not on my watch. And if I’m right about you, not on yours either.
Earth Day Is Not About . . .
Corporations and government convincing us they care, it’s about us telling them we do! It always has been.
By 1969, concerns over DDT, an oil spill of the Santa Barbara coast, and a river catching fire in Ohio had all contributed to a growing outrage amongst Americans about the way that the environment was being compromised by industry. Here’s an excerpt from a front page New York Times article that year:
“Rising concern about the “environmental crisis” is sweeping the nation’s campuses with an intensity that may be on its way to eclipsing student discontent over the war in Vietnam…a national day of observance of environmental problems, analogous to the mass demonstrations on Vietnam, is being planned for next spring, when a nationwide environmental ‘teach-in’…coordinated from the office of Senator Gaylord Nelson is planned …”
And we all know what happened next: Nelson’s ‘teach-in’ spread quickly, and 20 million Americans — one in five Americans at that point — took to the streets to demand change. The first Earth Day, held in 1970, was loud, raucous, and purposeful.¹ (emphasis mine)
If you think about it, what they accomplished is basically like winning a Nintendo championship with two broken thumbs. They had no internet to distribute information, no cell phones to coordinate protests and upload press photos in real time, no voice. But they did it anyway, and so can we.
I’m Not Going To Give You A List . . .
Of things to do here. Because honestly, the point of this whole post is that you ARE doing so many things that make a difference. This is YOUR day, so own it! Share your knowledge! Facebook is great because you can gently educate without overwhelming people (they can choose whether they sip or gulp the info you share), but real life convos are important to. Maybe take a minute to tell your congressmen about the issues that matter to you (It’s so easy now! Two clicks and you’re done!), or buy this DVD which launched on Amazon today and host a viewing party.
Speak up, mama. I don’t think they’ve heard us yet.
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We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.
- Native American Proverb