Where do we go from here?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Earth Day Thoughts

I posted a very crabby status on my Facebook page this morning, an Earth Day status, but not one of flowery hope and cheer.  I don't have much hope, flowery or otherwise, and I have been sadly dead out of cheer for several weeks now.  This is what I posted this morning: 
 Yes, it's Earth Day, the one official day we set aside to celebrate the planet. What if we all really believed, and lived as if we believed it, that every day is Earth Day? We've had Earth Day once a year for forty-one years now. It's time to start having Earth LIFE, not Day. Time for serious legislative actions, not symbolic ones.
I posted that crabby message after seeing a photo on an AOL gallery of photos from Earth Days starting with the first one in 1970.When I went back to try to get the photo, the gallery was gone, so I can't put it in this post, but it was of a protest somewhere, early in the history of Earth Day. The photo was of protesters in front of a building (maybe the EPA) who had poured out oil on the steps of the building, and were holding signs demanding safer regulations for offshore oil drilling.  This was a photo from possibly forty years ago, and look where we are today.  Look at all the "earth days" that have gone by, and almost exactly on Earth Day of 2010 itself we had the monstrous BP Deepwater Horizon blowout and nonstop oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico.  Really, we are such silly people - for forty-one years we have celebrated one day out of the year with local fairs featuring recycling demos, booths selling herb and vegetable plants, maybe someone showing how their solar thingy can heat a bucket of water, and so on.  Symbolic acts have been the hallmarks of our Earth Day celebrations for as long as we've held them.

In Bolivia they celebrated their Earth Day (which they call the International Day of Mother Earth) with a law granting rights to Mother Earth equal to the rights shared by humans.  In this document Mother Earth is defined as: "a unique, indivisible, self-regulating community of interrelated beings that sustains, contains and reproduces all beings. The Morales government in Bolivia also plans to establish a Ministry of Mother Earth to implement this law.  The rights for Mother Earth include:
the right to maintain the integrity of life and natural processes
the right to not have cellular structure modified or genetically altered
the right to continue vital cycles and processes free from human alteration
the right to pure water
the right to clean air
the right to balance, to be at equilibrium
the right to be free of toxic and radioactive pollution
the right to not be affected by mega-infrastructure and development projects that affect the balance of ecosystems and the local inhabitant communities

So, maybe this law will also only be symbolic, but what a huge symbol, what an ongoing committment to  the earth.  Here in this country our government can't agree on a single action to actually DO something about climate change and the rest of the imbalance we are imposing on this planet.  I find it hard to get excited any more about Earth Day.

P.S.  I wrote most of this yesterday, but finished it today.  Don't know how to change the date so it shows yesterday, April 22, 2011.  But that's the correct date for this one.

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