Environment Writing

Earth Day Weekend 2018

Earthrise Dec. 24, 1968

Earth Day is and will always be about this photo taken by the Apollo 8 astronauts on the first manned mission to the moon.

“The vast loneliness is awe-inspiring and it makes you realize just what you have back there on Earth,” command module pilot Jim Lovell said from lunar orbit.

With a perspective six inches from our noses, we often forget who we are and how we fit into the vast reaches of the universe. We are a speck in a place larger than we can imagine.

When I participated in the first Earth Day as a senior in high school, the idea we should work together for peace, reduce pollution, and care for the environment seemed obvious. Even much reviled President Richard Nixon got it — society had to do something to address clean air, clean water and endangered species.

Earth Day is a chance to revisit this iconic photograph. When we consider a broader perspective, as the photograph encourages us to do, little has changed on Earth since it was taken. Our troubles seem petty compared to the overriding fact Earth is our only home. We are all in this together.

As much as societies seek to delineate metes and bounds, there are no borders on the globe. There is only one society of which we are all a part.

This Earth Day I’ll be working at home in my garden. A late spring created pent up demand for outdoors work. For the last four weeks, one excuse after another delayed needed work, yet now I’m ready to release the floodgates.

Not before I consider this photo one more time.