Last year for Earth Day, I tried to change the advertising business. Not very successfully.
This year I’m not sure what to do.
You know when you’re trying to jump on a train or a merry-go-round or whatever, and you keep hesitating because it’s just going by too fast?
That’s how I feel right now. And Madam Earth has been in the news quite a bit. But so has the Mueller report, and whatever you-know-who tweets about it — basically the death of democracy has taken over the news cycle. Hi.
So me and the six remaining polar bears on the planet went into hibernation for the winter (and early spring).
I’m waking up now, but I still haven’t read last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine climate issue yet. I keep bookmarking articles like “Plastic Bags to Be Banned in New York” (what?!) and “Six Reasons to Be Hopeful About Fighting Climate Change” (will share one or two shortly) and pieces about a Swedish girl nominated for the Nobel Prize for skipping school and starting her own environmental movement.
That said, I’m writing a book. Or I got an agent who wants me to write a book. Of course, since that happened, my fingers have become allergic to my keyboard. I also had to do my taxes, and I was out in California for a few weeks driving my dad to appointments to deal with the cancer that had metastasized into his brain. How’s that for an excuse? And it looks like I’m gonna have to move out of my apartment.
And I can’t even say I’m even a vegan anymore. 😦 But I’m vegan at home, and I’ve been cooking a lot more.
For the record, the first Earth Day was on April 22, 1970 — Nixon was President. Partly inspired by my hero Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring, 20 million Americans of all walks of life took to the streets to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. This movement led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency later that year.
And in former EPA director Gina McCarthy’s words, “EPA is not the birds and bunnies [agency]; EPA is the people [agency].”
So here’s how I’m celebrating Earth Day 2019. I just read H. Res. 109: the Green New Deal. It’s wicked cool —take a glance at it here.
It’s only 13 double-spaced pages (you can skip page 1), and the margins are so wide, there are like 6 words per line. It’ll take you about as long to read as it takes to watch a Saturday Night Live cold open on YouTube.
In a nutshell, it pairs FDR-style labor programs to combat the climate crisis and get America’s emissions to net zero. I love it. Plus, if you read between the lines, it really socks it to rich white men (what’s up with those guys?), and provides fun numbers like $1,000,000,000,000 (I don’t even know the word for that) and fun facts like the top 1 percent of earners accruing 91 percent of gains in the first few years of economic recovery after the Great Recession. Not that we don’t already know this, but it’s nice to see it said very clearly and succinctly in a Congressional Resolution. AOC is killing it, right?? (She’s another hero.)
(And for the record, I don’t hate all rich white men. I may even know one or two.)
Okay, seriously? I lost the piece of paper where I copied down the reasons to be hopeful. It’s prob in my recycling bin . . . Oh, I just found the article online; it’s on the website of Columbia’s Earth Institute (where I got my certificate), and Reason #4 is “Environmental protection will survive Trump.” Partly because most EPA day-to-day decisions are handled on the state level, and also because a lot of Trump’s rollbacks have been shot down by the courts, or are merely press releases. And we’re still legally in the Paris Climate Agreement (until the day after the 2020 election). Plus, ya know, AOC.
So hoot and holler for the birds and the bunnies and the bats and the funghi and the octopi and the brown people and the white people and the purple people, and the Earth as a living being — a colossal biological super-system. And in the words of John Muir:
When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.”
Tell me how you’re celebrating Earth Day in the comments!