Feeling a little bullish about Earth Day? Me too. I’m full of questions…
Do we still need Earth Day?
I remember the first Earth Day. We were told, “Make every day Earth Day.”
With even cleaner ways to power our vehicles, have we fully embraced cleaner cars? With mercury pollution poisoning our children and asthma on the rise, is our air clean enough? What will happen to our rivers and ground water if our land is fracked without regulation? And who will enforce clean ups if the EPA is cut off at the knees?
Earth Day was inspired by the anti-war movement of the 1960′s. It tapped into that tremendous energy to bring public awareness to air and water pollution. In April of that year, 20 million Americans rallied for a healthier environment. Groups fought for less polluting power plants, eliminating toxic landfills, bans on pesticides, and cleaner roads.
How’d they do it?
In a rare political alignment, Republicans and Democrats created the EPA, and then passed the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.
Could this be done today?
We’ve got climate change deniers in Congress, no plan for swapping fossil-fuel based energy for renewable energy, and a well-funded pro-polluter lobby steadying their drumbeat to the false message that we have to choose between the economy, our precious planet — our precious children.
Where’s the economy headed if we can’t breathe the air, drink the water or farm on the land?
What can we do with such a divided environmental community?
We’ve come a long way since 1970, yet we haven’t answered BIG questions. I’m thinking we need a new uprising, a new mission for Earth Day, a grassroots movement focused on the single most important environmental issue of our time – Climate Change. Our parents fought hard for a cleaner, greener environment for their children. Now it’s our turn to repurpose Earth Day.
WATCH Earth Day 1970:
Photo used with permission: Ben Scott for Bluerock Design