If you are a happy idealist, please don't read this.
So, its Earth Day and everyone is wearing green. Businesses are telling us how to buy their products through greenwashing hoping that we will give them the green they actually care about. Networks are touting green initiatives they ignore every other day of the year. Products using too much packaging are telling us how environmental they are and everyone is using this as an excuse to show off their green cred, earth piety or once a year conviction.
It is kinda like Easter and Christmas for nominal Christians, a time to think about something we will forget about until the next time it is all over the media. While I should appreciate Earth Day and the sudden emphasis, it is hard to get myself excited. It is the same reason I don't get excited about Black History Month and MLK Day, relegating something so important to a day, week or month, so we can appease our guilty conscience for the rest of their year. Yes, it is a start. Yes, it is better than nothing. Yes, we have come a long way. But, I am more concerned with what people do and talk about on the Monday after Earth Day than I am on Earth Day.
I am cynical because I think you either care about your impact upon the earth and take it into consideration when making decisions or you do not. You either think about how your decisions and lifestyle effect other people, animals and the environment or you do not. No Earth Day emphasis is going to change the minds of those that do not care. It will only guilt them into silence for a day.. or they will act like it matters to them because they want others to think they are with it (see most corporations and many churches).
I am also a bit cynical because I attended my first Earth Day Celebration 20 years ago, convinced it would change things. I took the whole thing seriously and put my money where my mouth was. I was considered a freak by most of my fraternity brothers and my Christian friends. Luckily, we have come a long way, not because of earth day celebrations, but because of people like Al Gore making movies and churches finally getting on board.
However, what was an emphasis a couple of years ago, probably due to gas prices and scare tactics has become familiar and even uninteresting to many in light of recession, good gas prices and someone that may actually kinda like the earth in the White House.
So, do something for your planet today (of course, if we did what our planet really wanted, we would cease to exist). Or don't. Just don't act like you care unless you really do.