was a small pile of rocks with the one word…
Whatever that meant, well, I just couldn’t guess.
“But now,” said the Once-ler,
“Now that you’re here,
the word of the Lorax seems perfectly clear.
UNLESS someone like you
cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better.
from The Lorax
by Dr. Seuss
Random House, 1971
accessed on YouTube April 19, 2021
I like to believe that no one is as mean and as greedy as the Once-ler who only wanted to make more and more Thneeds, a clothing item that nobody really needed. He used up a resource until it was gone, then packed himself up and let his factory go to rack and ruin while the nearby forest, pond, and the very air suffered mightily.
I like to believe that, but I know it’s not true. There’s plenty of greed fed by over-consumption, thoughtless disregard for natural resources, and careless disposal of trash. Who knew that cigarette butts are the largest source of plastic pollution? According to EARTHDAY.ORG, as of August 28, 2020, 4.5 trillion butts are littering the world. It takes 10 years for the plastic in the filters to completely degrade. The toxic chemicals stay in the ground much longer.
I’ll stop myself before a rant begins about the deplorable state of the world and the humans who inhabit it. Look around. Lots of good is going on.
In two days it will be April 22, the day the whole world celebrates Earth Day.
Gaylord Nelson, a senator from Wisconsin who served from 1962 to 1980, decided to pivot the energy college students displayed in their anti-Viet Nam War protests, civil rights protests, and women’s rights protests to the growing environmental movement.
He was concerned about the spewing smokestacks, overflowing garbage dumps, and oil spills. In January, 1969, he witnessed a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California and the destruction that followed. Nelson and a fellow Congressman recruited Denis Hayes, an activist, to lead teach-ins on college campuses. April 22, a date half-way between Spring Break and finals seemed a likely time to reach lots of students.
The name Earth Day caught the ear of national media who shared the story far and wide. On April 22, 1970, over 20,000 people attended the first Earth Day celebrations across the US, over 10% of our entire population. Earth Day grew and continues to grow.
Earth Day went global in 1990. Recycling efforts worldwide got a huge boost and countries began to mobilize for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
President Bill Clinton awarded Senator Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1995, for his role as Earth Day founder.
Thirty years after the first Earth Day, the millennium year saw citizens around the world sending a clear message to their leaders to take “quick and decisive action on global warming and clean energy.”
Today EARTHDAY.ORG provides volunteer opportunities and outlets for civil engagement to over one billion people in 193 countries. Earth Day is widely recognized as the largest secular observance in the world.
According to their website, “The social and cultural environments we saw in 1970 are rising up again today — a fresh and frustrated generation of young people are refusing to settle for platitudes, instead taking to the streets by the millions to demand a new way forward.”
Digital and social media are bringing people together as never before, “catalyzing generations to join together to take on the greatest challenge that humankind has faced.”
This year’s world-wide celebration begins at noon eastern time on April 22, 2021, and can be accessed here: https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2021/
Scroll down to find the Global Youth Summit beginning today (April 20, 2021) at 2:30 ET. Continue your scroll to find the rest of the three-day-long activities.
Further down the page you’ll come to the Five Pillars of Restore Our EarthTM where you’ll find hundreds of ways to be informed and involved.
Since 2010, the Canopy Project has planted millions of trees all over the world in communities most at-risk from Climate Change and in communities cleaning up after natural and human-caused disasters.
During The Great Global Cleanup you can register your group or yourself to clean up a lot or a little and get a pin on the world map. Their slogan is “Sign Up, Show Up, Clean Up.”
The Global Earth Challenge is a citizen science initiative to explore current issues like plastic pollution, changes in insect populations, and how air quality differs in different locations.
And EARTHDAY.ORG is not the only organization working hard. Here’s a list (in alphabetical order) of organizations whose missions make our Earth their priority.
The Arbor Day Foundation https://www.arborday.org
Audubon Society https://www.audubon.org
Environmental Defense Fund https://www.edf.org
NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) https://www.nrdc.org
Sierra Club https://www.sierraclub.org
The Wilderness Society https://www.wilderness.org
World Wildlife Fund https://www.worldwildlife.org
A very handy source to find information about nonprofits and charities is The Charity Navigator. https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=3671 Type in the organization’s name and discover their mission, their history, their staff, how much of their donations go to programming, salaries, and how much it costs them to earn each dollar.
Celebrate our Earth on Thursday (and every day.)
-—stay curious (and hug a tree, or two!)