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Kevin Jones, writing in The New Jersey Star Ledger:
An idealist at heart, my Earth Day wish is for all of us to commit to achieving an environmentally sustainable, socially just, spiritually fulfilling way of living and being on our planet. I realize this sounds like a tall order. Some might call it naive. But if we put down our cynicism for a moment and consider how many of us want the same thing, we can see there is enormous potential in our collective desire for a better world.

Moving from dream into action can be difficult. We are social creatures. What those in our social circles do, what our society values, and what we find available to us, strongly shapes our individual behaviors and choices. And we currently live in a society that values conspicuous consumption over doing what is best for people and the planet.

But there have always been visionaries, willing to step outside the status quo to live and tell different stories about how to be in the world. And there have always been those who bravely join them. Through them, we have already come far.

Owen Ullman at USA Today:
Tuesday, as we observe another Earth Day, there is broad public support for cleaner air and water, and as a nation we have taken dramatic steps to improve the environment.

The coming challenge is what to do about climate change, which a nearly unanimous collection of scientists says is real and potentially calamitous if we don't act now to reduce greenhouse gases.

More below the fold.

A nice piece over at The New York Times:

There are 600,000 trees growing along the streets of this city.

This is the story of one that died and was born again.

John Roach at National Geographic gives us the history of Earth Day:
Earth Day began in 1970, when 20 million people across the United States—that's one in ten—rallied for increased protection of the environment.

"It was really an eye-opening experience for me," Gina McCarthy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator, who was a self-described self-centered teenager during the first Earth Day rallies, told National Geographic. (See pictures: "The First Earth Day—Bell-Bottoms and Gas Masks.")

"Not only were people trying to influence decisions on the Vietnam War," she recalled, "but they were beginning to really focus attention on issues like air pollution, the contamination they were seeing in the land, and the need for federal action."

David Foster at The Huffington Post:
Together 20 million people from all over the country gathered to protest pollution. The idea for Earth Day originated with Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson, who was thinking about how he could harness the energy of the anti-war movement and apply it to another growing problem -- cleaning up the environment. He said, "If we could tap into the environmental concerns of the general public and infuse the student anti-war energy into the environmental cause, we could generate a demonstration that would force the issue onto the national political agenda."

Not surprisingly, it's a sentiment that rings as true today as when Senator Nelson spoke those words 45 years ago. Today, Earth Day is an opportunity to educate and talk with one another about the impact of our actions and to engage communities around possible solutions. It's also a time to draw connections between environmental issues and other social problems that plague our nations.

Take the issues of climate change and infrastructure, for instance. Despite the growing concern of Americans from all walks of life about the strength and safety of infrastructure in the face of more extreme weather -- such as transportation, pipes, electrical lines, communication systems, and public buildings like our schools and libraries -- Congress has failed to take meaningful action even when it could create jobs and improve public safety.

A very important piece by Peter Bell and Brian McGill at National Journal:
For years, mentions of Earth Day have sprung up each April from members of both parties. In April 2010, Democrats spoke of Earth Day over 150 times, mostly in commemoration of its 40th anniversary. But no Republican has uttered the words "Earth Day" on the House or Senate floor since 2010.

[...] What explains the apparent Republican aversion to talking about Earth Day, and Democrats' eagerness to do so? For one thing, Earth Day was founded 44 years ago by a Democratic senator, Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. Another reason is the increasing polarization of Congress. As recently as 2000, Republican Rep. Benjamin Gilman of New York took to the House floor to say, "From combating global climate change to protecting threatened species to providing clean water, we have a duty to act locally and globally to protect the environment for our present and future generations." Congressional Republicans like Gilman were rare in the 1990s, but they are seemingly extinct today, as over 40 years of vote scores from the League of Conservation Voters shows.

Finally, a great piece by Robert Digitale:
It was a quarter-century ago, and Anderson was seeking advice on graduate school from Denis Hayes, who had been the national coordinator for the first Earth Day. “What is it?” Anderson asked of the crisis.

“It's me,” said Hayes.

For Anderson, who now leads a Santa Rosa nonprofit that promotes land stewardship and outdoor education, the answer meant not to point fingers at others. Instead, he heard anew that each of us has a stake in the planet's future.

Hayes, he said, kept asking himself, “Am I doing enough? Am I walking the talk?”

Now in its 44th year, Earth Day continues to prompt people to consider what they might do as stewards of the world, its supporters say. And today its reach has spread to more than 190 countries.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Thought Tyson did a bang-up job on Cosmos (21+ / 0-)

    Sunday using the battle over lead pollution to highlight corporate disinformation about climate change and other.  All in all it was a brilliant program . . . working from the decay of uranium as a method of dating the age of the earth to a very practical environmental message.

    Think about the baby Jesus. Up in that tower, letting His hair down so that the three wise men could climb up and spin the dreidle and see if there's six more weeks of winter. -- Will and Grace

    by Rikon Snow on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 04:51:19 AM PDT

    •  I used to work with a psychiatrist who also (8+ / 0-)

      'professed' to be a "Christian' and was into that 6000 years thing.

      I know my mouth hung open when she told me.

      I was like "but....but... carbon dating".

      "carbon dating is unreliable" she said, so self-assuredly.

      Duly noted, doc.

      There is no hope for somebody as educated as a psychiatrist think this sort of patently dumb shit.

      She was also too old to wear leather, but she still wore it.

      Denial is a terrible thing.

      Legal means "good".
      [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

      by xxdr zombiexx on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 05:27:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The money quotes from the episode: (5+ / 0-)
      Lead company shill Kehoe: "If there was proof of harm we would've found it."

      Anti-lead crusader Patterson: "Not is your purpose is to sell lead."blockquote>

      This is one of the most anti-capitalist moments I've ever seen on TV - on the Fox Network, yet. (Not to mention the series' ongoing critique of organized religion as totalitarian-enforced stupidity.) I wonder if O'Reilly et al are going to attack Fox TV for being "anti-American" or "anti-God."

      You can't stop progress (or is that "profit"?)

      by Miscweant on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 05:55:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I remember going to the first Earth Day (4+ / 0-)

    in Pittsburgh. "those were different times".

    My epiphany of the day. Those pseudo-pithy epigrams that the other side loves so much are ads. You know those ones like "Poor people keep voting Democratic and they're still poor". Those horrid things that ruin Facebook for me. They're ads. The other side copies and pastes ads. I find that so disturbing. Our side eschews such mindlessness. Maybe we're wrong. If we wait for everybody to realize what propaganda is, it may be too late. It may already be too late.

    We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.

    by PowWowPollock on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 05:04:51 AM PDT

  •  Earth Day, 1970 (15+ / 0-)

    From the Library of Congress: A Girl Scout in canoe, picking trash out of the Potomac River on Earth Day, 1970. (Oddly enough it was published on April 22, 1970.)

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 05:10:15 AM PDT

  •  Don't kid yourself: Climate Change is already (7+ / 0-)

    harming North Carolina.....

  •  I don't doubt that Owen Ullman... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude, Oh Mary Oh, salmo factually accurate when he writes:

    there is broad public support for cleaner air and water
    The problem is that sentiment isn't "broadly shared" by the Global Financial Elites. They view cleaner air and water as "financially unsound and indefensible" assaults on profitability of future reporting quarters. And their army of lobbyists, SuperPac managers and the political/judicial firewall that they purchased will enforce their "sentiment."

    Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Egalitare on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 05:15:18 AM PDT

  •  Really... who in their right damn mind (4+ / 0-)

    expects a republican to mention "Earth Day".

    Buncha hippie liberal nonsense to a buncha lying shitheel global-warning deniers.

    People should at least be dumping trash in republicans' yards.

    Legal means "good".
    [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

    by xxdr zombiexx on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 05:18:01 AM PDT

  •  * NASA * wants your Earth Day selfie * (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xxdr zombiexx

    but i have no link.

    i think NASA wants your this year's earth day selfie TODAY.

    TRAILHEAD of accountability for Bush-2 Crimes? -- Addington's Perpwalk.

    by greenbird on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 05:21:21 AM PDT

  •  A Week After Apollo 13, a Week Before Campus (9+ / 0-)

    Cambodia blowups and Kent State. Busy month, first time around.

    The first Earth Day was just 10 months after the final fire of our legendary once-flaming Cuyahoga River near its mouth at Lake Erie. The event which damaged a railroad trestle was part of the energy behind the first Earth Day, and carried on to helping win support for the Clean Water Act.

    Back here in the present, our town plants free ornamental trees for residents on request. When we met one of our new neighbors during move-in last summer, we mentioned it.

    I see this morning each of us has a new wood stake stuck in the middle of our respective tree lawns. We put in a couple ornamentals of our own in the front yard, and all buds indicate they handled the polar vortices just fine. Herself is in charge of plant selection; the tree we requested is of a variety specifically named "under wire" because of being bred to restrain its growth below utility wires such as we have at this house.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 05:27:17 AM PDT

    •  Out west here, (6+ / 0-)

      things are drying up- the Ogallala aquifer is down by hundreds of feet, and trees are dying everywhere. Not that trees are a natural part of the High Plains, but you could always find pockets of them running along dry streambeds.
      I remember growing up before Earth Day in Philadelphia. The rivers smelled like a garbage heap, and there were no fish or birds around them.
      Now, even the rivers that run through the city itself are clean and support wildlife and birds of prey like eagles.
      I don't understand why Republicans think this is a bad thing.

      Your beliefs don't make you a better person. Your behavior does.

      by skohayes on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 05:44:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  When I was a kid I spent time on the Hudson river (5+ / 0-)

        Near West Point.  My family ran a concession at an arts festival twice a year from when I was about 5 until after I went to college.

        When we first started (about 1971) there was maybe 6 inches of visibility if you dropped a pebble off a dock.  The water smelled like gasoline, swimming was not a good idea.

        A dozen years later it had cleaned up to the point you could watch that pebble go down 5 or 6 feet, jumping in was not such a disgusting idea (but opening your eyes underwater was still a bad idea) if you were hot enough...

        Republicans think this is a bad thing because it places restrictions on business, and somehow that all that pollution had absolutely no effects on anybody, so why give a f***?

  •  Earth Day (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, skillet, tampaedski

    I vaguely remember the first one since I was only a kid in third grade. But this was rounding into an era with 3749 Saturday morning cartoons with the moral of "Ecology!"

    I remember the second one in 1980 when I was in college. I think it was s bit of a washout because anything ten years in the nostalgia cycle tends to be at the nadir of uncool and the country was in a tax revolt and OPEC 2 driven big swing to the Right. Although, I found the OPEC 2 part of the turn to the Right to be way counter-intuitive. Shouldn't the backlash been against Big Oil, dirty energy, and Big Biz? Instead we elected President Gas.

    Then there was the third Earth Day in 1990, when I was a bowl jumper for the Westinghouse Nuclear Support Division. I mainly remember disingenuous Green Washing. McDonald's had their pamphlets claiming that their styrofoam boxes were actually good for the environment. GM dealers had pamphlets saying that reviving CAFE would be bad for the environment.

    After that, it seemed that Earth Day settled down to be a yearly thing.

    "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

    by Stude Dude on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 05:37:10 AM PDT

  •  Whoo boy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SoCalSal, tampaedski

    HotAir has a fit over Crist switching parties and his views on abortion. The funniest part is the comments.

    Abortion is not about “her body”, it’s about destroying the body of her unborn child.

    Every cell in the mother’s body has the mother’s DNA.
    Every cell in the baby’s body has the baby’s DNA, which is UNIQUE FROM IT’S MOTHER’S DNA.

    Abortion is not about removing cells with the Mother’s DNA from the mother’s body.

    Abortion is about forcibly removing cells with the baby’s DNA from the mother’s body.

    It is not “her body” that an abortion removes from her womb. It is her baby’s body that an abortion removes from her womb.

    The Declaration of Independence declares that Life itself is an unalienable Right, endowed by our Creator. No person has a right to terminate the life of an innocent human being.

    Even in cases of rape and/or incest.

    Let the baby live to birth, and then if you don’t want to raise that child, put it up for adoption. There are hundreds of thousands of prospective adoptive parents who would love and raise that child. Don’t give an innocent baby the death penalty for the crimes committed by its biological father.

    from ITguy, who gets all sciency on your ass.

    Your beliefs don't make you a better person. Your behavior does.

    by skohayes on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 05:58:01 AM PDT

    •  Heard similar from a neighbor, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skohayes, Stude Dude

      a young anti-abortion, anti-contraception, devout Roman Catholic with five kids; three of them in diapers. She said something to the effect that fetus DNA never changes and that's a reason for no abortion, ever. (huh? Um, yes dear, DNA does change. What does that have to do with anything?)

      Actually, I changed the topic of discussion at that point, seemed the kindest thing to do.

  •  Will Obama's possible pardon of non-violent (0+ / 0-)

    Drug offenders boost his popularity and have some coattails going into the '14 Midterms?

    I don't see why Obama is always so underwater. It's not like he's Nixon mired 2/3s of the way through Watergate.

    "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

    by Stude Dude on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 06:03:18 AM PDT

  •  Back to Earth Day (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude, tampaedski

    Oklahoma, that bastion of forward thinkers where the wind comes sweeping down the plains:

    Oklahoma residents who produce their own energy through solar panels or small wind turbines on their property will now be charged an additional fee, the result of a new bill passed by the state legislature and expected to be signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin (R).
    On Monday, S.B. 1456 passed the state House 83-5 after no debate. The measure creates a new class of customers: those who install distributed power generation systems like solar panels or small wind turbines on their property and sell the excess energy back to the grid. While those with systems already installed won’t be affected, the new class of customers will now be charged a monthly fee — a shift that happened quickly and caught many in the state off guard...

    “It is unfortunate that some utilities that enthusiastically support wind power for their own use are promoting a regressive policy that will make it harder for their customers to use wind power on their own,” said Mike Bergey, president & CEO of Bergey Windpower in Norman, Oklahoma, in a statement. “Oklahoma offers tax credits for large wind turbines which are built elsewhere, but wants to penalize small wind which we manufacture here in the state? That makes no sense to me.”
    The bill was staunchly opposed by renewable energy advocates, environmental groups and the conservative group TUSK, but had the support of Oklahoma’s major utilities. “Representatives of Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. and Public Service Co. of Oklahoma said the surcharge is needed to recover some of the infrastructure costs to send excess electricity safely from distributed generation back to the grid,” the Oklahoman reported.
    “We’re not anti-solar or anti-wind or trying to slow this down, we’re just trying to keep it fair,” Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. spokeswoman Kathleen O’Shea told the Oklahoman. “We’ve been studying this trend. We know it’s coming, and we want to get ahead of it.”

    Your beliefs don't make you a better person. Your behavior does.

    by skohayes on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 06:03:23 AM PDT

  •  Starting at home (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    salmo, Stude Dude

    One problem with Earth Day is that it has too often focussed on the individual feel-good actions that don't make much difference in the grand scheme of things.

    We need a lot more reporting on how these aggregate -- US electrical demand dropping (10%? I think), so all those efficient fridges and light bulbs really do make a difference.

    In the meantime, my immediate goal is to compost more of my waste (paper as well as food), which sequesters carbon in the soil, and grow more of my vegetables even though my little urban backyard is pretty shady.

    But I know that every time I get on an airplane, I'm drowning out all my little positive efforts.

  •  Not getting enough publicity: Sherpas strike? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    salmo, zozie

    This deserves more attention: In the wake of last week's avalanche on Everest, the community of sherpas who service all the expeditions is threatening to go out on strike, unless the compensation for families of those who dies is increased substantially.

    From what I gather, Everest is pretty much like a luxury hotel -- the "guests" who pay large amounts to expedition companies to take them up the mountain, and then the low-wage sherpas who do the hard work of lugging supplies up the mountain, from camp to camp, so that the paying guests can live in (relative) comfort during their trek. Not surprisingly, the sherpas have a much higher risk than the paying guests do, because they're on the mountain day in and day out, carrying heavy loads, on a schedule.

    And once you're paying thousands of dollars (or euros, yen, yuan, whatever) for the trip of a lifetime, how hard would it be to pay 1% more or even 5% more so that the sherpas could get better pay and better benefits and better compensation to their families in case of disaster?

  •  Earth Day Began in 1970 (0+ / 0-)

    Think about it, many of those people who stood up for Earth Day 44 years ago are now the base of the Republican Party- Global Warming Deniers, Drill Baby Drill....

  •  gop not talking about ..... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude

    What it should be said is: the 1% are not talking about earthday.

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