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 today. But me? I usually skip them. It’s not that I don’t care, but at the ripe old age of 27 (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 sometimes Earth Day feels like nothing more than a PR opportunity for companies who want to tell us how much they care. Do we believe them – and more importantly, should we? Here’s my take:
Earth Day Is Not About . . .
Corporations 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.” (source, emphasis mine)
And it got things moving. “The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.” (source)
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. Whether it’s by shopping locally, making your own cleaning supplies, planting a garden or opting for cloth over paper towels, your choices help shape our children’s future.
Recently, the Hershey company released a statement saying that it will return to “ingredients that are simple and easy-to-understand,” adding that they will focus on local and sustainably harvested ingredients. Did they just wake up one morning and have a change of heart? I don’t think so. Food producers are seeing a shift in the way consumers look at food, and we are the driving force behind that.
Thank you for gently educating as you share articles and have conversations at the park. Thank you for voting with your dollars. Keep speaking up, mama. I don’t think everyone has heard us yet.
We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.
– Native American Proverb