“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul.”
– John Muir
It’s been 40 years since the first Earth Day. Some might suggest not much has been achieved since the birth of the modern environmental movement. I’d like to remind the cynics that “solving” our role in a finite world is not something that’ll happen overnigh and from a global perspective 40 years is overnight. I think we’ve done pretty damned good.
I want to encourage people to treat everyday as an Earth Day. Yeah, I sound like a broken record, but we live on a beautiful planet. There’s none other. Most of us take all this for granted.
The best thing about this day is that it mobilizes us and even if people do that one day a year, a lot can happen. But people need to remember that the effort isn’t done after that one day. You don’t just buy some biodegradable garbage bags and call it good.
My meager contribution today was to ride my bike to work (hey, less cars on the road is good). I would have loved to spent the day volunteering, but I figure my time helping Seattle Audubon’s teen Birdwatch group is worth much more than a few hours pulling Ivy or picking up trash. After all – the ideas and hard work that will come out of inspiring a next generation are arguably more important than anything else. If we can break kids of the modern cultural addictions we all suffer from and give them the support and tools to change our world, there’s nothing better. Environmental education is half the battle.
Simple contemplation of the world and your role in its existence holds significant value. However that needs to become a well trodden path. I attempt to travel that road daily and through that imagination I believe my dreams for the planet will come to fruition. These are both the most trying of times and the most exciting because I believe that the momentum of environmentalism is real to many people. And people are trying, however we have to lean heavily on our own infrastructures to support what we want. It is going to take everyone: That’s why I am happy to have President Obama in the White House (give the guy a break, he’s got a lot on his plate). Part of leading people to a better world is telling them what they can be doing better, not pulling holistic panacea out of a hat or making everyone happy, (my next question is why people aren’t happy with the idea of a healthy planet?).
I’ll leave you a few links to the web festivities surrounding this important day:
TreeHugger’s Slideshow of 11 environmental heroes is inspiring and full of some of my favorite people
Instructable’s DIY “Green” Projects for Earthday
National Audubon’s Earth Day Action Hero
And last but not least, Earth Day HQ
Finally, get outside and enjoy yourself, it’s good for what ails ya!
“we can never have enough of nature. We must be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor, vast and titanic features, the sea-coast with its wrecks, the wilderness with its living and its decaying trees, the thunder-cloud, and the rain.”
-Henry David Thoreau