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Earth Day 2009... Because Every Other Day We Don't Think About the Earth

by: Jill Richardson

Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 15:00:00 PM PDT


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It kind of cracks me up that we have to have "Earth Day." It's like "Black History Month" and "Women's Studies." The reason why we don't have a white history month or men's studies is because the other 11 months of the year ARE white history month, and presumably because much of the rest of any curriculum IS men's studies. Likewise, the other 364 days of the year most of us treat the earth like crap. The on one day a year we honor it while large corporations use the opportunity for some first class greenwashing (often framed as "corporate responsibility").

I'm not pointing the finger at individuals because I think that it's corporate, government, and policy change that is necessary to really turn the corner on environmental reform. It's not just people buying plug-in hybrids and solar panels - it's government investing in bike paths and high speed rail and municipal public transportation. It's not just vegetarians and locavores, but government banning factory farms, allowing city dwellers to raise backyard chickens, and changing its commodity subsidies to encourage farmers to grow healthier foods and do so organically. We've got a long way to go.

For a fantastic Earth Day retrospective, I recommend checking out Leslie Hatfield's piece on Huffington Post, A Revolution is Growing. She interviews several influential people in the food movement on their highlights of the past year and where they think we need to go next.

Jill Richardson :: Earth Day 2009... Because Every Other Day We Don't Think About the Earth
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Nice piece in the link... (4.00 / 2)
and she even quoted my favorite food writer!

:)

Exactly -

It's not just people buying plug-in hybrids and solar panels - it's government investing in bike paths and high speed rail and municipal public transportation. It's not just vegetarians and locavores, but government banning factory farms, allowing city dwellers to raise backyard chickens, and changing its commodity subsidies to encourage farmers to grow healthier foods and do so organically. We've got a long way to go.


Earth Day = Susan Boyle (4.00 / 1)
I'm a bad mommy. I didn't take my son to Earth Day events held by a local group. These are good people and they planned a lot of fun things to do, but we were too busy installing drip irrigation lines (to conserve water), putting the finishing touches on the rainwater holders, hanging laundry outside, taking aluminum cans to the library for its can drive, and (in my son's case) chasing a chicken all over the compost pile.

Earth Day is, well, for other people who may not live as close to the earth as we do. Our lives are centered around gardens and livestock and greener choices, so I don't feel like I need to set aside a particular day to emphasize topics like recycling and reducing energy use. Maybe Earth Day is a good reminder to folks who don't give much thought to these things.

But it reminds me of the audience who was so surprised at Susan Boyle's performance on "Britain's Got Talent." They looked delighted to entertain a new idea, were momentarily transformed, suspended their judgy ways...and, at the bar later that night, commented about (or at least mentally labeled) "that fat cow over there." Earth Day doesn't change anything systemic; it's feel good today and get your mocha latte at Starbucks' drive-thru in your SUV tomorrow.

The best intentions--and feel-good Day-ism--are not a replacement for sustained action.


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