What Happened to Earth Day?

23 Apr

Whatever happened to Earth Day? I remember the first one back in 1970 and I remember the sense of urgency that people were feeling about the planet and air and water pollution and the overuse of fossil fuels and cars and oil and gasoline and carcinogens being everywhere and in everything etc…

We were all worried that if we didn’t change our ways then the future for ourselves and our loved ones would be bleak and filled with more pollution and harder times and wars over oil and…then… what happened? We seemed to just forget about it.
I blame my generation, which was in college at the time, for dropping the ball. We all graduated got jobs, got married, had children and joined the rat race and stopped paying attention and started shopping, eating out and driving SUVs…how did that happen?

Now the Earth is 1 and a half degrees warmer, (3 degrees warmer in NJ!) our cars get only 25 miles per gallon, everything is made in China where the sun never breaks through the industrial haze, we still go to war to protect our oil interests, drill the oceans and frack the very core of our planet in search of more of the same old fossil fuels… and cows are force fed corn until their stomachs explode.

And that poor old Native American with the tear running down his cheek is now crying bankruptcy in his casino…

I wonder what the odds were of that happening?

And still we pay little attention to the health and well being of our most precious and pale blue island floating solemnly amidst the enormity of the universe.

My apologies Earth day… Mother Earth… Your prodigal sons and daughters, even though we don’t seem to think about you very often, still hope you live a long and happy life, (at least until the sun explodes)

Where would we ever be without you?

24 Responses to “What Happened to Earth Day?”

  1. princessdeficit April 23, 2013 at 9:34 pm #

    I didnt even realize it was Earth Day! Horrible! I will write something about it, thank you for the reminder! 🙂

  2. A Voice April 23, 2013 at 9:54 pm #

    “I blame my generation, which was in college at the time, for dropping the ball.”

    Oddly enough, I also lay the blame of this and more at the feet of that generation.

    Generally speaking, I don’t believe there has been a generation in the short history of this nation that has done so much to damage the integrity of this country or her people. I wrote a poem about it many years ago called ‘The Greatest Generation,’ and another much more recently called ‘Senior’ which can be found in Damage Over Time.

  3. RAB April 23, 2013 at 11:30 pm #

    No, the Baby Boomer generation was like any other generation, populated partly by idealists and partly by pragmatists; partly by people oriented toward the community, and partly by people oriented toward the self. Unfortunately, Big Money favored the pragmatists and the self-centered, when the integrity of the country and the wellbeing of the environment depended on the idealists and the community-oriented. Unfortunately there were more of the ones Big Money liked, and they were well rewarded to stay that way…. I have always been haunted by the biblical description of a prophet: a “voice crying in the wilderness.” I identify with that. Blame no generation—it was, after all, our generation that publicized these ideals and causes and TRIED to make a difference—blame human nature, and the primacy of the self in most human calculations.

    • A Voice April 24, 2013 at 1:01 am #

      Human nature, for all its pros and cons, simply is: it is a given. We cannot and must not throw back any given thing to ‘it’s human nature,’ as that would absolve individuals and groups of responsibility prematurely and often unduly.

      The Baby Boomer generation -and I hesitate to use this word- is disgusting, as it is not simply a small segment of that generation that operated through the ideals of pleonexia but a rather significant contingent of that group. The generations that have been the issue of the Baby Boomers (X, Y and the one immediately following Y for the very youngest and those on the cusp of the Baby Boom) have watched this generation viciously erode their sense of financial, environmental and familial security to the point that apathy is the largest problem of these successive generations.

      The Baby Boomer generation has shown precious little care for anything aside from their own wants, not their needs but merely their wants. There is a small contingent of Baby Boomers that do not operate in this way and we are grateful for their example, but there can be no legitimate denying that that particular generation has caused more harm than any other, all things considered, while having the real means to do just the opposite.

      • brucethomasw April 24, 2013 at 4:45 am #

        It is so easy to lay blame . . . aren’t we all in this together? Come on people . . . let’s get together, to quote that old 60’s song. Lets start making the choices to make things better . . .

        Even if it’s a small thing, like screwing in a 6-pack of CFL light bulbs or something (forget the beer for a change). Enough effecient light bulbs reate alot of carbon free Nega Watts, to borrow a term from energy efficiency expert Amory Lovins.

        Lets stop talking and blaming, and just do what we need to do, to allow the next generations a future worth living for.

      • A Voice April 24, 2013 at 8:19 am #

        There is a difference between just looking to place blame and understanding where things went wrong. This is something that is easily forgotten because -and please understand there is no way to put this politely- most people truly are stupid and by choice, opting to not pay attention to much of anything for any of a number of reasons.

        We cannot simply move on from things without understanding them. It’s certainly a good idea to do what you can as you can, but it’s just irresponsible to not attempt to lay blame where blame is due, to understand why that blame is being laid, because too many wilfully stupid people choose to conflate bitching and finger-pointing with understanding.

  4. brucethomasw April 24, 2013 at 4:49 am #

    oops – that should have read – enough energy efficient lignt bulbs creates alot of carbon free nega watts.

  5. ontyrepassages April 24, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    When did we go wrong? 1973. Arab Oil Embargo. That was when we decided saving the earth was really important, but if was more important to kneel before oil. Then, in fear that our standard of living would suffer again we went on a mind-boggling, self-centered revenue generating spree through the 80s. If we couldn’t afford it, we charged it with 90s creativity. Alternate energy? We tossed most of it aside. Thoughtless greed created the world we live in and we deserve every warming, dying inch of it.

    • Morgan Mussell April 23, 2014 at 1:32 am #

      I think another key turning point was the 1980 presidential election. In his so called “malaise” speech (though the word wasn’t used), Carter said our problems were not OPEC but a way of life that makes us depend on foreign oil:

      “In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities and our faith in God…too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns.” – Jimmy Carter, 7/15/79.

      Ronald Reagan countered with his “morning in America” speech and won the election by a landslide. Since then, “energy independence,” renewable energy, etc., has been nothing more than a buzz word, because it demonstrably does not get one re-elected. So to some degree, everyone of voting age in 1980 who helped hire Ronald Reagan shares partial responsibility.

      But in the end, blame for what has already happened is no more useful than honking in a traffic jam. The only meaningful question is, “What now?”

  6. twopull April 24, 2013 at 11:05 am #

    Reblogged this on Breathe… and commented:
    We selected one day out of 365 as earth day. do we even remember it? I didnt…I am ashamed…can some of take this as a bell and begin some work at change? i will try…..

    • brucethomasw April 24, 2013 at 5:09 pm #

      In reply to A Voice – I’m listening to you and I here you . . . I’m a baby boomer and no doubt, as the author of this post pointed out, we dbaby boomers did collectively drop the ball. And no doubt ,as you so wisely point out, we do need to name and blame the perpetrators of abuse, in what ever form that abuse manifests itself. And bring them to account!

      Here is a thought to ponder – United States has nearly 5% of the worlds population and uses about 25% of the worlds energy. I don’t mean to single out just the U.S.A., because Canadians and Australians are equally gluttonous. And it is not just because we live in very large countries.

      My point is this – instead of saying it is this generation or that generation that caused and/or are causing the breakdown of the earth’s natural systems, I believe it is wiser fro us to realize that it is the marvels of this fossil fuel age that has brought the rich and middle classes of this planet such material prosperity, at both the expense to the earth and of the poor and the dispossessed people of this blue/green planet.

      In summary, I don’t believe the problem (or the solution) is a generational thing.

      As Pogo said in the cartoon:

      We have met the enemy and the enemy is us.

  7. avwalters April 24, 2013 at 5:25 pm #

    We used to plant trees. Now most of my generation “shops green” instead. Alas, I try to volunteer for the day–easing my mind and hoping….that it makes a difference.

  8. Jixi Fox April 25, 2013 at 3:50 am #


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  10. gpicone April 22, 2014 at 10:03 pm #

    Reblogged this on ipledgeafallegiance and commented:

    It’s Earth day again…Has anything changed? For the better I mean…

  11. sheenmeem April 22, 2014 at 10:06 pm #

    It’s a grim future, if you think about it.

  12. Michele Anderson April 22, 2014 at 11:37 pm #

    I don’t think much has changed. People that I love and are good people are happy using their Weed B Gon and all kinds of other killers. All we can do is practice Earth Day in our own yards and hope humans wake up soon.

  13. david April 23, 2014 at 1:05 am #

    maybe we’ve gotten older and if we were on a college campus today (as we were in the 70’s) Earth Day would still be alive. Anyway, I’m on my 2nd Prius and never go food shopping without my canvas tote bag.

  14. Jason Preater April 23, 2014 at 8:15 am #

    Earth Day is just ridiculous. As if having one day a year when people stopped guzzling and prayed for the planet would make any difference. I don’t think anyone should feel guilty about global warming because there is big money and there are big interests that are undemocratic and self-perpetuating. If you don’t feel like supporting those interests there is always the option of walking, not buying so much and giving more to your poor neighbours.

  15. avwalters April 23, 2014 at 6:29 pm #

    When Earth Day becomes a consumer event–clearly the point has been lost.

  16. Uncle Tree April 25, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

    Well, then…

    Happy Arbor Day to you!
    From Lincoln, Nebraska 🙂
    Peace and luvz, Uncle Tree ▲


  1. What Happened to Earth Day? | ipledgeafallegiance - April 23, 2019

    […] via What Happened to Earth Day? […]

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