The First Earth Day
I recall the first Earth Day, in 1970, the same year Neil Young put out After The Gold Rush, which gave us the words, "Look at Mother Nature, on the run, in the nineteen seventies."
Yes, I'm dating myself with radio carbon accuracy - I was a senior in high school on that day. But that gives me some perspective, if not wisdom.
At the time it seemed like a great thing! It was clear we were doing damage to the planet and finally enough people were seeing it. By the end of the year Richard Nixon, of all presidents, established the Environmental Protection Agency. And in the years since then, we have reigned in some of the pollution that was choking the air, burning the waters and killing the wildlife. We understood the mission.
So, taking a day in April to focus on the Earth, and what we should be doing to protect her, seemed like a move in the right direction.
Now, I see it somewhat differently. I see a certain human arrogance in it. The Earth doesn't need one day out of the year for humanity to talk about the issues. She will do fine in the long run, as she always does, with or without us. We may have the intelligence to alter the world around us, even to the point of changing the balance of the climatic equation, but in the end, the Earth will survive, even if we do not.
I see Earth Day in that light. We might take the day to acknowledge where we stand today, with regards to this vast, timeless planet from which we all draw life, and upon which we all depend for our food, air and water. What does it mean to be an inhabitant of this Earth? What are our responsibilities?
Here in the United States, we are taking a step back now, our leaders reversing the forward motion of serious environmental action, de-regulating the polluters, denying the facts of our toxic presence on the face of the planet. Denying that we are ruining the future for our progeny. All for monied interests.
If Earth Day has any impact this year, let it be that the disingenuous, ill-informed and dangerous positions staked out by our political leaders, who aren't willing to acknowledge that we are currently in a state of emergency, be brought into high focus. Let it be clearly stated that we must re-establish our relationship with the Earth and understand our place as a driving force within the environment, currently out of control.
As a member of the Green Party, I propose we revitalize Earth Day at its core. Understand it as an invitation to join with all people, to reconnect in our common heritage as beings of this planet, liable for our actions, respecting her well-being, and dependent on her interconnecting ecosystems.
Let's use the day as a springboard to propel us through the year, everyday keeping our eye on the actions of those in power, ensuring they are making the right decisions for those who will be inhabiting our world now, and for generations to come.
Candidate, U.S. Senate
Green Party of Pennsylvania