Weekly column by Barbara Hirsch
Tuesday is the 44th Earth Day, an idea born after a senator came to Santa Barbara to experience the devastation of the ’69 oil spill. The international Earthday.org site states that over a billion people are participating in one way or another. Wow, that is one large percentage of the global population!
To some or many, perhaps, it seems silly to have an Earth Day, because 1. every day should be one, or 2. they are so cynical as to think that all of the efforts we make to be better stewards of the planet are ridiculous. That category can be further divided into those who could care less and those who do care, but feel the futility of it.
Between those extremes, there is the reality that people like to have a reason to gather in a celebrating community fashion, be amidst visual displays with a theme of some substance, visit booths to learn about cool programs and technologies, hang out with other kindly responsible folks, maybe buy some stuff and eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die. Oops, did I just say that?
In last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine is a certain deeply pertinent (to earth day) piece on one environmentalist’s road to despair and what follows. It is a good read, and even better if you go on to read the comments. Here are excerpts from a few:
“He’s no longer trying to change the big picture, just the one he lives in.”
“You don’t have to save the world, just don’t destroy it.”
“Man’s attempt to control the natural environment will doom him.”
“Nature will take it all back, it’s just that we may not be around to see it.”
“Better to face the facts, and go down fighting the good fight. Drive less, bike more, eat vegan and have fun!”
“…Perhaps we will not pollute every molecule of land, air and sea. Not trying is the greatest moral failure.“