Earth Day

Growing up in Crescent City I missed out on most of the early activism surrounding Earth Day. I have read that Earth Day began in 1970 when I was but four years old and it would be understandable if I was unaware of anything that may have been going on around me.

My earliest memories of Earth Day go back to 1987 while I was in college at Sacramento State University. John, a good friend of mine, was an interesting fellow with some liberal leanings and he shared with me that the coffeehouse on campus was using paper cups instead of Styrofoam cups because it was Earth Day. Sure enough, the cups had Earth Day logos containing a graphic of the planet on them. I thought about it for a few seconds and gave it the “what could it hurt?” and carried on with my life as usual.

Over the next couple years I kind of knew about Earth Day and that it would show up around spring, but never really knew much about it or realized the level of involvement of students around the world. Engineering students generally have their head buried in a book and very little in the way of a social life. I would see something going on in the quad and it looked like some serious left leaning hippie convention and I just kept on walking.

Earth Day has its roots in student protest and it gave liberals a cause to champion other than the Viet Nam war. Over the last twenty years, the Earth Day celebrations have become more celebration and less protest as more of mainstream society is embracing the environmental stewardship. I would even venture to say that an element of capitalism has invaded and Corporate America is exploiting Earth Day for profit.

Today is a good reminder for me that I can do my part to make a small difference. I have a Starbucks tumbler at my desk and I can remember to take it to get coffee in the morning so that I do not have to throw away another cup. I have dozens of reusable shopping bags and I will make an effort to take them with me to the grocery store to cut down on the number of bags that I am using. I continue to use my blue can and make sure most recyclables make it into the recycle bin.

I do not make much of an effort, but I can honestly say that I have improved considerably over the last twenty years. I have many areas where further improvement is possible, but I really do not have a great deal of motivation to actively pursue it. On the other hand, I am still of the belief that it isn’t much of a sacrifice to do a few simple things to help out.

I am not asking you to drastically change. I am asking you to take a moment to think about it and see if there is some small thing you can do with just a minimal effort that will help out with the cause of preserving the Earth and its resources. What could it hurt?



2 Responses to “Earth Day”

  1. david olson Says:

    Ok, so earth day is all about keeping the planet green and conservation of what we have right? I can only think that over population should be the very first thing we address if there were less people there would be less of everything cars houses ships and therefore less carbon emissions and less melting of the ice caps right? wrong
    just look at the volcano in Iceland it is doing more damage in the form of particulate pollutant in just a few weeks than the entire human race can do in years yet some how this will have to be our fault and well have to do even more tightening of our way of life to make up for natures pollution, seriously people if you want to curb human pollution, curb human reproduction. Think of it, if every couple for one generation limited themselves to one child we could roughly reduce the population by 1/2 maybe more. In a time when everyone’s trying to do what’s ” best for our children’s children’s children” maybe the best thing we could do for them is have less of them. just my opinion and don’t get me wrong I do love a lush green forest more that most I just don’t want to have to chop it down to cover every last inch of it with suburbs and human den habitats.
    You want to do something green for earth day, wear green condoms

    • victorshaw Says:

      Because I have no children it is hard for me to defend that side of the argument. Responsible reproduction is probably something we should strive for.

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