Tuesday, April 20, 2010

obligatory earth day blog post: redux

If you are a happy idealist, please don't read this.

So, Thursday is Earth Day and everyone is wearing green. Businesses are telling us how to buy their products through green-washing, 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.

In fact, I turned on to NBC Monday night and their was their little green NBC symbol which will disappear next week. My son told me that on Thursday we need to make sure we send his lunch without anything that can be thrown away. He never noticed that his lunch is packed in a reusable container each day... because the school would not talk about it beyond their once per year obligation and I gave up preaching a number of years ago.

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. Man, do I sound like a preacher talking about Sunday morning.

Excuse my cynicism. However, 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. To what degree to take the environment and sustainability is a personal choice, even if you end up like Mark Wahlberg's character in I (heart) Huckabees, unable to make any choices because you are constantly concerned with the impact of any choice. Like is a series of sell-outs and repentance for selling out.

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 21 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 Christians no longer willing to be silent 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, slightly better 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 before it decides to kill us for being a bad roommate). Or don't. Just don't act like you care unless you really do.

coming later, news from the Earth regarding Earth Day

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