Cranky Thoughts/Earth Day

It's the day before "Earth Day" and bloggers everywhere will be blogging about Earth Day and so I too shall blog (briefly) about Earth Day.

I must confess, given the horrible state of planetary affairs, I'm feeling a bit cranky about Earth Day this year....the logical outcome of one too many articles about imperiled bats, deformed frogs, industrial beekeeping practices, and dead whales with garbage in their bellies—that kind of thing.

Of course, I support the concept of Earth Day, which marks its 40th anniversary this year. I applaud any effect to mobilize awareness of and action on environmental issues. I was seven on the first Earth Day and I remember it as a significant influence when I was a kid; Earth Day is an old, familiar friend.

My crabbiness, I guess, has to do with the name "Earth Day," which implies that the other 364 days aren't quite as urgently "earthy," and perhaps takes us off the hook after we're done attending to that one great (and successful) marketing campaign. (I am not saying that the Earth Day folks are suggesting as much—just noticing the way these word, this year, are resonating for me.)

Earth Day is every day. We live here every day. We sleep here—or lay awake worrying about diseased bats and light pollution—every night.

And we need to be doing a better job, every day and every night, of protecting this earth—her people, her water, her creatures, her land, and her sky (including that beyond our earth's atmosphere, which we have also, incredibly, managed to gum up with our junk).

I know I'm preaching to the converted here, so I'll also confess that perhaps what I am feeling is not really crankiness so much as sorrow. Because it's clear that all we're doing to protect the Earth, collectively and individually, is light years short of enough. As the environmental casualties, horrors, and insults mount, I'm left yearning for a better way to effect the changes we so desperately need.

What—besides blogging, donating to effective environmental organizations, planting bee-friendly gardens, recycling, cooling it on the consumerism, insisting upon serious campaign finance reform, signing online petitions, informing ourselves and sharing what we know with others, and promoting environmental awareness via clever marketing campaigns—should we be doing to turn this sad mess around?

I'd welcome your thoughts.


rachel said...

I don't know. I do those things that you mention, and I do also notice they're not enough. I think the answer might lie somewhere with breeding less, and also it has to do somewhat with optimism rather than pessimism. i'm guilty of the latter, and i think that mustering some of the former and meditating with hope and positivity about what's good about the world and the good trends (they're there - ask someone optimistic to list them for you) are very probably part of the picture. i think that in that hopeful action, lies a lot of power. i'm still speculating rather than acting, but i'm on my way.

Anonymous said...

How about not eating meat...even if only on a part time basis? Plus finding ways to make or substitute store bought items with found or made things (hair conditoner w/ olive oil--which can also serve as skin moisturizer, etc for example). Eliminate packaging when possible. Recycling takes a hell of a lot of energy...often involving fossil fuel.

I feel you on the cranky sorrow!

Morta Di Fame said...

great message. earth day should be celebrated every single day! today especially i am looking at everything i do. from wrapping things in saran wrap to throwing away eggs yolk and its a bit daunting how much one person can do in every day life that is so harmful to our planet. but i guess awareness is key. aside from earth day; i am also crabby everyday ;-) i agree also rachel that pessimism never brought about any positive change in the environment. one thing comes to mind that gives me great hope is that my little 13 year old cousin watched food inc. in her school and she then said, i am only going to buy local meat. so earth day was what locavorism is to kids today hopefully. i am reading this blog because i joined beekeepers nyc, but i have no hive. how pathetic! i'll keep reading!

Stephanie said...

I think the biggest movement for change now is happening with green education in the public schools: teaching kids--as young as kindergarten--about local foods, gardening, beekeeping, environmental justice, access to healthy food, the use of public space, pollution, etc. There are several organizations devoted to this effort in NYC: Added Value, GrowNYC, Slow Food Program, to name a few. If kids grow up respecting the environment, and understanding the related issues, we may get somewhere. I have hope.

Gerry Gomez Pearlberg said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts of hope and the promise of the future, Stephanie. I so hope you're right!!