Can you tell Friday is Earth Day? It can be eclipsed when you are already using energy efficient everything, choosing healthier food and even growing some of your own. Maybe I’m preaching to the choir, but the choir has to eat. The fact that so many of us live Earth Day every day is a wonderful thing!
The Junior Audubon Society of Naples celebrated the first Earth Day April 22, 1970 quite inauspiciously. The adult sponsors had a group of us middle-schoolers traipse along a busy highway to count and categorize the litter. The plan was to do an annual trash survey and compare the trends. My seventh grade friend finding a girlie magazine on a weedy median capped the day’s excitement. I do not recall whether the garbage tally was ever repeated or analyzed. In hindsight, the bragging rights of being involved with the initial attempt at Earth Day turns out to be my greatest experience from the day.
Living in the woods surrounds my family with what should be a daily reminder of why Earth Day is every day. My wife and I both have had the jobs requiring gas-burning commutes, and my kids are ensconced in large air-conditioned institutions of information processing. It’s easy to overlook our natural selves when intellectual and economic pursuits seem to be both the means and ends. But when nature does intervene, its unexpected utterances can be newsworthy assaults. Our daily existence of a slow natural evolution is really a recovery mode following the rare cataclysm.
On the North American continent, we are blessed with abundant fresh air, clean water and a healthy food supply. Global pressures are finding their way onto our local resources just as surely as a frog will boil when the broth is heated slowly. What is the critical point when heed must be acted upon, not just waiting until a notable event rattles our cage? These blessings might forestall the inevitable, but being aware that concern exists is the first step.
Commercial marketing of Earth Day and everything green sounds like profiteering of the original intentions. The various festivals, though, are enjoyable events. Vendors are performing a valuable service informing guests about products such as drip irrigation, organic lawn fertilizers, tankless water heaters and attic insulation. Trust me, an Earth Day activity in a park is a whole lot more fun than counting debris along a busy highway. (I’ll be an Edible Landscape panelist at the Central Florida Earth Day 2011 event at Lake Eola in Orlando at 4 p.m. Saturday, April 23).