I feel strangely unmoved by Earth Day. Uninspired, and also un-annoyed. Just flat.
Don't get me wrong, I think it's a great excuse for a party. The boys and I took in a school event yesterday, and today will do a nature walk then the downtown festival. I'd much rather be part of a gathering to celebrate the Earth than to celebrate an war or labour or even nationhood. This is an important, truly global reason for concern and celebration, and collectively honouring the basis of our lives is a good thing, and usually a fun one too.
But what does it really do? There have been no events around here that do anything to really address the earth's needs. A few trees planted, a special prize draw just for people walk/ride/bus to the downtown celebration, the usual change-your-lightbulb booths at the fair... nothing that will surprise or challenge most of us. As I've written before, we need more than band-aid fixes, and a quick event engenders quick fixes, not the long-term work that's needed.
That's not a criticism of anything that's been organized - it's more a reflection on the state of the movement. I believe we have raised awareness about the basic issues enough that a single day won't do much more to put environment on the map - it's already there. We made the same decision with ACCES about AIDS education in Kenya - enough people knew about and believed in the existence of the disease that the Stage One community actions were no longer needed. So we dropped the "have you heard about AIDS" songs and skits and moved on to a deeper level of education and behaviour-change activities that took more time and commitment from all involved. Surely we've reached the same stage in North America where people are aware of climate change and a wounded Mother Earth and now need ongoing support to become more engaged in solutions.
I look forward to seeing friends, tie-dye, local musicians and maybe even organic fair food today, and will enjoy the energy of friends around the world doing the same thing. And here's to hoping that I'm wrong, that this does serve as an annual Call for more and more people to join in the lifetime movement to leave something healthy for our grandchildren.
Earth Day: maybe, or hopefully, a great idea whose time has past?
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