The Earth is Mad
On April 22 the world marked Earth Day. Most of us did something to show that we care that the earth is in trouble. We may feel that our actions are of little consequence, but if everyone did something, the results could be significant.
Earth Day had a modest beginning in 1970 when U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin invited students to implement projects to sensitize their communities to the needs of the environment. Since then, the warnings from scientists have become more dire as our actions have brought us closer to a point of irreversibility. But there is reason to be optimistic because we are changing our ways and becoming more engaged in our efforts to heal the earth. I can certainly see that in my grandchildren. Being green is now second nature to them.
However, when you make that comment to older folks, they are proud to point out that they were green before it became a fashionable modern-day virtue. I remember that my mother who sewed a lot of our clothes kept all the remnants and when there was enough she would braid them and make beautiful rugs displaying an array of gorgeous colors. Braided rugs are still available of course, but they are now made by machine and the yarns dyed to make symmetric patterns. I don’t think they have the same soul!
In the old days, little was thrown away. However, with after-war posterity life changed. Like most of you, I remember a time when cars were long and pink and gas was selling for about 35 cents a gallon. So we fell in love with automobiles not thinking about their growing impact on the air we breathe. Fortunately, we are getting back to basics after decades of spending our resources without much thought to how it was affecting the environment, but a lot remains to be done.
Each of us should get involved in “greening” our world beyond the weekly recycling of household trash. We should be involved in our respective communities and putting pressure on decision makers so that economic development does not come before environmental protection. There certainly is no doubt that climate change is now a reality. Floods, hurricanes, drought and earthquakes seem to be the norm everywhere. We’ve always had those, of course, but now it seems that they occur more often because the earth is rebelling, or as my grandson puts it: “The earth is mad?”
The earth is not only mad, it is fuming. We have abused it and it is rebelling and telling us to clean up our act. Yet there are still people who believe the whole climate change is just a sham made up by scientists. But what is most upsetting to me is that some elected officials are rolling back ecological standards. Everyone should be up in arms about this and let it be known that voters are ready to rebel to save our poor planet.
People like my grandmother and my mother did so much for the earth as a matter of course. Nature was respected and little was thrown away. For those who lived through the Great Depression reusing and recycling was second nature. Clothing was mended and hung on a line outside to dry, appliances repaired, not discarded like they are today in our throw-away society. Families had one car, not two. How things have changed! We may have a better lifestyle overall but at a cost.
It seems to me that if everyone was an environmentalist and did their share, the world could be a better place for our grandchildren who may have to pay a high price if we continue to ignore the earth’s message. If we don’t, I fear that the earth will remain “mad” and the future may indeed be bleak for them. Every day should Earth Day.