A lot of people have wished me “Happy Earth Day™” today. But I’m not feeling like it’s an occasion for celebration. Back in the early days – in the 1970s when we started publishing Natural Life Magazine – there was a heady sense of power to make change, and to set aside one day a year to remind ourselves to work on solving ecological problems.
But now, the problems loom much larger. And they’re global in scope. While we used to think in terms of saving some lakes, cleaning up a river, conserving a specific species of animal, banning a pesticide, we now have a full-blown biodiversity crisis, global climate change and many other issues that have become apparent as a result of having stretched ecological systems to the breaking point. However, politicians and corporate leaders alike are not coming up with real solutions. In fact, instead of solving the problems, in many cases, we’re continuing the behavior that has caused the problems. And that means we’re falling behind, in spite of taking a day each year for the past forty years to plant some trees and wish each other “Happy Earth Day™.” The leader of the band, in Canada at least, has brought along a motley crew of corporate sponsors, including car manufacturers, energy producers, insurance companies, electronics manufacturers and grocery stores.
I do believe we can change the course of events, although some things are already too far gone and life undoubtedly will be different for our children and grandchildren. If we are to save this planet for human life, governments and corporations will have to act quickly and decisively. And individuals like you and I will have to push them to act. While we’re doing that, we’ll need to be sure our own lifestyle is sustainable (and doesn’t include buying all the so-called green living trinkets I’ve had pitched to me in honor of the day.) As Gandhi said, we must be the change we want to see in the world.
So if you’re marking Earth Day™ in any way, please include some time for sober thought about how we can dig ourselves out of the monstrous mess we’ve created. And then, let’s get started.