Friday, April 22, 2022

Earth Day

(This is the 8th post I ever wrote, back in 2009.  I like it just as much today as I did then.  That must be true, since I have now posted it 13 times.)

I like Earth Day. I was there at the start, after all.

Created in large part by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, in the world of 1970 it was a touchy-feely alternative to the harsher realities of the anti-Vietnam War protests. War was such an uncomfortable subject and arguing against it made your parents wonder why they were spending tuition dollars while you were telling the lawfully elected President of the United States of America that you knew more than he did. With your picture in the crowd on the front page of the NY Times. At 18 years of age, no less. 

But planting trees? Recycling newspaper? Not littering? And all this in service to Mother Earth. Who could be aggravated about supporting Mother Earth?

Earth Day had teach-in's. They were more fun than sit-in's, which invariably involved police and disciplinary action. They were less fun than be-in's, which owed more to Timothy Leary and The Grateful Dead than to anything political or practical. Teach-in's were earnest and had hand-outs and statistics and pictures of desolate landscapes ravaged by the cruelty of man. There was science and legislation and outrage and lots of tree give-aways.

Earth Day had no mandatory family gatherings. It required no gift giving, no card sending. You went outside and did something - cleaned a playground, weeded a median strip, planted one of those free trees. You felt good because you were doing good.

Now there is Earth Week and "We're greener than you are" tv networks. Were this still 1970, there would be protests about the idea being "co-opted by 'the man'". Instead, Sheryl Crow is designing re-useable grocery bags for Whole Foods and Wal-Mart is selling others next to the discounted paper towels.

And Mother Earth is grateful.


  1. It's still a great sentiment, but we are still not doing nearly enough.

  2. Earth day does have an added sentimental meaning for me -- my first date with my husband, Mike, was on the first Earth Day and we went fishing, but first cleaned up the stream side of litter and trash.

    1. Thanks for sharing that memory, Olga! I'm adding it to the pantheon of good ones surrounding this day.


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