>> Monday, April 13, 2009
This post is my submission for this month's APLS Blog Carnival. The subject is "Is Earth Day relevant?" Check out all of the APLS bloggers on April 22nd at Arduous Blog.
For this month's APLS blog carnival, Arduous asked:
As Earth Day approaches, I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I feel like it's good to have one day a year where the focus is on the environment. Earth Day may build awareness in people, and it might give some people enough pause to significantly alter their lives. On the other hand, shouldn't every day be Earth Day? Many argue that Earth Day allows people to feel good about recycling their aluminum cans, driving their Toyota Prius, and bringing their own bags, when the truth is those actions barely scrape the surface in terms of what might be necessary to combat the forthcoming environmental crises. What do you think?I see Arduous' point, but still...I love Earth Day. It's in my top five favorite non-holy holidays. Maybe top three.
Since I was born in 1978, there has been an Earth Day every year of my life. The first Earth Day was held in the United States in 1970 when 20 million Americans participated in demonstrations and rallies for a healthy environment. Since then, Earth Day has spread around the world with billions of people participating in activities on April 22nd every year.
As I've thought about the history of Earth Day, I've been pondering the timing of the holiday. Was April 22nd a random choice - was it just that nothing else was going on that month? Or did the founders choose April on purpose?
Whether it was on purpose or not, I think April is the perfect month to have a holiday called Earth Day. April is the month when the weather becomes predictably warm. It's the month when the flowers start to bloom and the trees turn green. In most places in the U.S., April means it's finally time to plant a garden. At my house in April, we end our winter hibernation and head outside, and from then on we spend as much time outdoors as possible until the summer humidity forces us back inside.
April makes me want to celebrate the earth, and I think that is why I love Earth Day. Maybe it's intended to be a day to teach and proselyte about environmentalism, but when I think of Earth Day, I think about how much I love the planet that I live on.
When I asked my husband if he thought Earth Day was relevant, he brought up another point: "People say the same thing about Christmas. Every year, someone starts complaining about how everyone gives during the holidays when we should be giving and being kind all year. Or we give thanks at Thanksgiving, when we should be thankful all year. That's true, but it's still nice to have a day just to focus on those things."
Earth Day is the same. We should be aware of our environmental actions all year, we should be concerned about the environmental crisis all year, but the average person can't spend all their time thinking about the environment, so it's nice to have one day that raises awareness and points us in the right direction.
Tulip photo by Per Ola Wiberg
Azalea photo by aussiegall