“Today is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, and while it may never live up to the first Earth Day celebration with a supposed 20 million rallied participants, we can still enjoy the outdoors, clean a river, drink from a Nalgene, turn out the lights when you’re not using them– or what ever it is that you do today to have a conscious impact. The question is: how far have we strayed from Earth Day’s original purpose? What about the issues surrounding why Earth Day began?”
So wrote blogger Johanna Hudgens, on April 22, going on to raise some issues which might give each of us — all of us — pause to consider and maybe change our actions or our attitudes.
Has green become a corporate sellout, just another way for advertisers to pull our strings and get us on board an imaginary bandwagon? Forty years is a long time to sustain an ecological purity based movement. I myself have become increasingly skeptical — not cynical, but skeptical — when I see major corporations jumping on board the Green Train.
How far have we really progressed, in terms of saving or reversing the effects of toxicity to ourselves and the fellow beings which share our planet?
No doubt, visible progress has been made.
When my dad was growing up in the 30’s and 40’s, the skies above western Pennsylvania often rained sooty gray.
When I was a child in the 60’s and 70’s, the blast furnace fires lit up the night sky with an eerie beauty, but it no longer rained sooty gray.
The dangerously polluted Lake Erie of my middle childhood has become a water source fit to swim in, fit to fish in, fit to enjoy without fear.
Have we come far enough, fast enough? Or is the ecodoom prophesied in the early days of the ecology movement still an ax, waiting to fall on our heads?
I write frequently, and with varying degrees of knowledge, about environmental issues. It is important to me, and thanks to the Internet, something easily researched and verified.
Given that reality, the truth is still not easy to divine. There are many opinions, each one heartily believed by its proponents.
The best broad answer seems to be awareness.
Not overt suspicion, nor Pollyannic belief. Awareness and participation, for what, like so many pieces of life, is a journey with an end we cannot yet see.
One thing is for certain. When it comes to saving our planet, we have nowhere else to turn.
Clyde Davis is a Presbyterian pastor and teacher at Clovis Christian School. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org