Earth Day, Apr. 22, a day to celebrate the environment!
The first Earth Day was organized in 1970 to promote the ideas of ecology, encourage respect for life on earth, and highlight growing concern over pollution of the soil, air, and water. Earth Day is now observed in 140 nations with outdoor performances, exhibits, street fairs, and television programs that focus on environmental issues. Check your local listings!
In 1970, I was teaching in an inner-city high school, school and we planted a tree beside a very busy street in front of a church. It reminded me of a story many of you are also familiar with – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. That was almost 35 years ago! There surely have been some major strides: government regulations, corporation changes, the reimagining and the development of new products which are more ‘environmentally friendly’, search and use of alternative fuels, educational institutions offer environmental courses and majors. And for individuals increasing use of cloth bags rather than paper or plastic, recycling, changes in food habits, community garden, etc.!
Yet, on the other hand, we have an increase in polluted cities, streams and rivers, there’s ongoing competition between a utilitarian use of land and conservation; consumer culture escalates, fracking is recognized by many as a bonanza for the U.S. while harming the health of thousands of families.
In the midst of this is the stark recognition of climate change demonstrated by extreme temperatures(remembering this winter!), Alaskan glaciers’ melting, Greenland & Antarctica shrinking. And the list goes on! I’m certain you could add to this listing.
Finally, as I conclude this reflection, I listen to one of my favorite related songs to this increasingly urgent issue. A haunting refrain underlies it all – “Holy Ground. We’re standing on holy ground. . .”
The following films offer both reflection and information:
Global Warming: the Signs and the Science (DVD, 60 min.)
An Inconvenient Truth (DVD, 90 min.) – Al Gore/Earth
the Shape of Water (DVD, 70 min.)
Teilhard de Chardin & Thomas Berry (DVD, 65 min.)