Earth Day, A Local and Global Commitment
Sing us a
song of disposability.
Sing us a
song of planned obsolescence.
Sing us a
song of refuse a-wandering.
The original event was conceived by Gaylord Nelson (then a jr. senator from Wisconsin, later a counselor for the Wilderness Society) as a nationwide patchwork of demonstrations and community "teach-ins" aimed at creating public awareness for environmental issues.
The event exceeded the expectations of its organizers when it garnered the attention of over 20 million Americans across the United States, and basically launched what became known as the "environmental movement."
Earth Day 1970 greatly expanded the ecological consciousness of the nation, effectively captured the attention of American business and government, and provided the impetus for establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as passage of the National Environmental Policy Act, Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, Endangered Species Act, and others.
This year, organizers of "Earth Day" expect more than one billion people around the globe will participate some way in Earth Day activities and help “Mobilize the Earth.”
According to the official Earth Day website, “People of all nationalities and backgrounds will voice their appreciation for the planet and demand its protection. Together we will stand united for a sustainable future and call upon individuals, organizations, and governments to do their part.”
Activities in many communities throughout the U.S. and across the globe, will make "Earth Day" a "day of action" that will focus worldwide attention to the plight of our planet and recognition of the "mutual interdependence of all species."
But perhaps more importantly, is the ethos behind Earth Day as it is celebrated each year. The annual Earth Day activities and awareness campaigns hopes to create a sense of commitment on the part of ALL people to do something to improve our environment. The overarching idea is to foster a new sense of responsibility for the protection of the planet by individuals, communities and nations.
The most important issue is not global warming or ocean pollution or hazardous waste dumps.
The most important issue is the lack of a conservation ethics in our culture.
Unless we raise a generation imbued with such an ethic, we won't be able to tackle the other problems.
"Think Globally, Act Locally”
This has been one of the long-time slogans for Earth Day.
It's a slogan of commitment, imploring each person to take action, to make a difference.
There are several ways we can do this: by becoming informed consumers, refusing to purchase products with contents or packaging that harms the environment. By reducing our consumption, reusing containers when possible, and recycling our disposable aluminum, paper, plastics and glass. And, we can encourage our community, county, and state leaders to establish guidelines and policies that protect the environment and encourage conservation efforts.
Otherwise, I'm afraid we'll find ourselves singing along with John Beaufort the "Biodegradable Blues."