While not being cynical I always have a “raised-eyebrow amusement” when we take a day and recognize our relationship to things as fundamental to our existence as Women, The Ocean, or in the case of today, the Earth. I’m glad that these days come up once a year, giving us little nudge to remember the importance of these elements to the fabric of our lives. But if we expanded our celebration a bit more perhaps we would be making more progress on the respective issues.
“Arch Druid” and environmental power house David Brower stated that in environmental conservation “all wins are temporary, all losses are permanent.” And in the temporal context of human civilization he was correct. A litany on recent and ongoing extinctions or our intractable economic stupidity on climate policy is not needed to punctuate this point.
Even though the momentum of environmental assault seems overwhelming, inaction is not a choice. It is because of our actions that the particular events leading to the first Earth Day in 1970 are no longer dogging us. Some will recall the poisoning of Love Canal, the burning of the Cuyahoga River, and the leaking Stringfellow Acid Pits which brought reckless industrial practices into focus; eventually leading to Federal regulations on stewardship of our universal commons – the air we breathe and the water we drink. The celebration of Earth Day made these regulations possible.
But even with regulatory agencies and policies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Clean Water Act, and the Clean Air Act, many industries still attempt to skirt the law – or worse.
And we have found that it is not just chemical pollution that is compromising our global habitat. Energy pollution is also a problem; heat, radioactivity, and the particular subject of our concern, ocean noise. If there is one bright feature of ocean noise pollution, it is that once you stop making it, it is gone. And while noise continues to gouge its tracks across the fabric of ocean life we know in the longer term that the ocean is resilient and will eventually recover from our assaults.
Whether this happens when we no longer need to take a specific day to celebrate “the earth,” or when we are no longer around to celebrate it depends entirely on how deeply we celebrate.
Dance wildly and sing loud! Happy Earth Day!