Day was born on April 22, 1970. It was the brainchild of a liberal
senator in Wisconsin who went on to become the governor. Gaylord
Nelson was genuinely concerned about how human harm was destroying
the planet. Along the way, the day devoted to saving our only habitat
became a day of meaningless slogans and actions that make the general
public and the guilty polluters feel good.
Day was so successful back then that a bipartisan Congress passed
several milestone bills such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act,
the Environmental Education Act and the Occupational Safety and
Health Act. Tens of millions of Americans across the country were
motivated to take part in activities to save the planet. Soon came
the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an agency
whose name said it all. The agency and subsequent laws were what the
country needed to protect our future.
factors started to erode the potency of the movement, Earth Day and
the laws that came with it. It wasn’t because Mother Earth was
not in crisis; she most definitely is. Money and power seem to be
the decade after the first Earth Day, the enemies of the environment
began co-opting Earth Day by becoming financial sponsors. Oil, gas,
chemical and nuclear energy corporations put themselves in the
driver’s seat. These greedy and corrupt global capitalists have
marred the true meaning of Earth Day, sparking criticisms and
protests of the hallowed day. It’s hard to hold companies
accountable who are funding your cause. It wasn’t long before
pointed demands became catchy marketing banners.
thought George W. Bush was the most blatant anti-environmental
president until donald trump darkened the White House door. The
Center for Responsive Politics reported that nearly half of the trump
administration political appointees to the EPA were tied to chemical
and energy industries supposedly regulated by the agency. EPA, once a
trusted enforcer and protector of the environment, is infected by
country has legislators at the local, state and federal levels who
could care less about people and the planet and more about profits.
Trying to get their attention about living things has become a
challenge. There are lawmakers and policymakers who don’t
believe in science, making it harder to pass laws that slow down the
destruction of our ecosystem by corporations.
influence of Earth Day is waning even as the U.S. rejoins the Paris
Accords. Even as we have more evidence about the harm being done.
Even as we identify ways to slow down the destruction.
stopped participating in Earth Day years ago. It seemed more relevant
to join protests in front of Monsanto’s International
Headquarters. Monsanto is the maker of genetically modified organisms
(GMOs), designed to withstand the onslaught of their death-defying
products like Roundup weed killer.
are some who think it’s time to reclaim Earth Day from the
big-green organizations and well as the powerful polluters who
finance them. Do some serious house-cleaning. Others think it’s
time to de-legitimize Earth Day by shutting it down and starting
this should be the year to take a serious look at a new strategy for
environmental protections. It’s time to prioritize science,
human life and Mother Earth. Polluted air, food insecurity,
deforestation, biodiversity loss, global warming, genetic
engineering, fracking and other symptoms of an ecological crisis are
smacking us in the face—begging for our attention and
resolution. It’s time to make concern about the planet more
than a one-day focus. It’s time to build a powerful movement to
sustain the place where we live.