Made it through another “Earth Day” weekend….mostly without hearing too much about the entire “event”. Today, however, its been a far different story. Several folks have forwarded “reminders” to me about the entire “Earth Day” ideal – and several others have forward a 4+ minute video called “If I wanted America to Fail” (found at this link) which focuses on the Environmental movement as an “evil” thing. I consider “evil” to be a subjective thing, but I digress…
I’ve always viewed “Earth Day” as a silly “event” — but it has some plus factors to it. For instance, it becomes a teachable moment where awareness towards some of the factors related to how man (the collective version here) treats his immediate environment – and what steps can be taken to change some of those behaviors. Now, typically, this leads to folks either embracing or rejecting the Global Warming theory — which tends to sidetrack from where environmental awareness can do the most good, IMHEO. Global Warming has far too much stigma attached to it from the political spectrum, which taints any aspect of being useful towards changing behaviors. So, toss that theory out of the equation. Instead, “Earth Day” can be utilized to teach folks about the trash they throw away, and how much of that can be put back into the products that we continually use through recycling.
Now, many of my more conservative friends will deride this as a “brian-washing” moment – where the concept is to turn society into robotic slaves to the environment. Supposedly, through teaching folks about recycling and getting them into the habit of recycling – there’s an element of communism associated with it…or even (gasp!) Satanism! All of this feeds into why I consider the entire concept of “Earth Day” to be somewhat silly. In essence, the entire “event” has become an over-politicized concept that is used like a well-worn football – kicked back and forth by both ends of the spectrum. And this back-and-forth of politics tends to drown out the entire teachable messages that can be useful for everyone to hear.
So, as the cacophony of this weekend starts to die down (give or take a few days more) – the teachable moments will arise again. Those of us that look at our environment and would like for man (the collective one again) to take better care of what we should be the stewards of — we will get the time to continue demonstrating what that can mean. We can have playgrounds where children don’t have to dodge trash or broken bottles hidden in underbrush. We can have highways where the flowers in the median are not outnumbered by the number of McDonald’s hamburger wrappers floating along.
But “Earth Day” shouldn’t be a single day – it needs to be something we practice every single day. And in practicing, we should understand the “why” of what we do. We plant new trees to make an area pretty, but we also plant the trees to help keep the air clean, as they are a vital part of that cleaning cycle. We plant trees that bear fruit as a food solution. Yes, we cut down trees too. The trees provide several materials necessary for other daily products that we use on a daily basis. To that end, the trees are necessary. So is recycling of those paper products that we use. The recycling process can provide some (not all) of those products that we use and slow down the necessary harvesting of the trees.
I get called a “tree hugging hippy” by many of my conservative friends. As a member of OBOD, I’m happy to embrace that title. As someone who looks at the contributions that the “hippy” generation provided to our current way of life – I’m extremely proud to be lumped in with such visionaries and innovators. I don’t think I have the brian-power or vision that some of those folks do…but I’m happy to have the label applied to me. Besides, its just a label. For them, its one of derision. For me, its one I’m happy to wear. All depends on your point of view as to what meaning it has.
“Earth Day” is a nice teachable moment. But its application needs to continue beyond the singular moment. As a Pagan…as a member of OBOD….as someone who embraces the hippy mentality….every single day is “Earth Day” for me.