LAKE MACBRIDE— There is little new to say this Earth Day. It’s not that I’m down about it, but most everything has been said before.
What started in high school as a way to participate in a national environmental movement by selling green and black buttons leading up to April 22 has become institutionalized in a way that takes the punch out of things.
Government and corporations have Earth Day activities, and not as many of them this year compared to last. It is a sign that corporate reputation management is at play more so than the grassroots efforts of men and women who want to see our government act on the Keystone XL pipeline, reduce the use of hydrocarbon and nuclear fuels, and preserve our air, land, water and biodiversity.
There are a lot of things individuals can do to reduce, reuse and recycle, and many people do them year around. What is lacking today is the political will to reduce CO2, methane, mercury, and other emissions. Our culture is driven by corporations more than government, and the business models upon which they operate continue to consider the atmosphere the same way we do an open sewer. That has to change if human society is to survive. It’s not just me saying that.
It has been a long struggle to get environmental issues to have parity with war and peace, economic progress, social justice, and man’s inhumanity to man. Environmental issues are not at parity yet, but should be.
What we know today is that the time for individual efforts is past. Only by joining together with like-minded colleagues will change be possible, and there is no agreement on what change is desirable, nor a path to determining how to proceed.
For a while, we must stop talking, stop thinking… and consider where our lives on the planet place us. Earth Day or no, many will reduce, reuse and recycle as these behaviors have become part of our daily habits. It is not enough.
On Earth Day 2013, I plan to dig in our garden, and let the work produce a sweat as I plant spinach, radishes and turnips. A brief retreat from talking and thinking, appreciating the irony that it was agriculture that started the release of greenhouse gases that led us to today.
What is the greater good when it comes to the environment? I don’t know, but more than seven billion others on the blue green planet have a stake in an answer. It’s time to renew our efforts to find one.
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