Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day

It's Earth Day again, April 22, a day when many people stop to think , however briefly, about our environment and our planet.  My experience with Earth Day goes all the way back to the first one.  In fact, it goes back even farther.  

I grew up in the times before the modern environmental movement.  That didn't mean that I lacked the interest and impetus of an environmentalist, though; I just didn't know that's what it was. I had no support.  I remember complaining to my parents that people were destroying woods and fields and "where the animals need to live" for houses and factories.  My parents laughed and told me not to worry.  I remember when the town trucks drove by, spraying a fog of DDT to kill mosquitoes.  Kids would run out to play hide-and-seek in the fog.  I did, too, but even then I wondered if it was really safe,

And then Rachel Carson published "Silent Spring".  I read the book as soon as it came out.  It took my breath away.  I wrote a letter to the local newspaper on the topic and I was annoyingly persistent in trying to get my teachers and friends to read the book and talk about it.  My feelings and thoughts were vindicated by an adult, a scientist.  I knew what I was: an environmentalist.

It's decades later and it's Earth Day again.  Usually I would go down the road picking up trash.  Today it's pouring rain.  I'm not collecting trash today.  It doesn't matter.  I pick up roadside trash a lot and then sort it for recycling.  Every day is Earth Day, after all.