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Ronnie Citron-Fink

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There Is No Away

Posted: 04/23/2012 5:20 pm

2012-04-23-there_is_no_away2.jpg

Feeling a little bullish and full of questions about Earth Day.

Do we still need Earth Day?

I remember the first Earth Day. We were told, "Make every day Earth Day."

Did we?

At the time, our cars slurped leaded gas, power plants belched out smoke and smog without recourse, and our rivers were on fire.

With even cleaner ways to power our vehicles, have we embraced cleaner cars? With mercury pollution poisoning our children and asthma on the rise, is our air clean enough? What will happen to our rivers and ground water if our land is fracked?

Earth Day was inspired by the anti-war movement. It tapped into that tremendous energy to bring public awareness to air and water pollution. In April of that year, 20 million Americans rallied for a healthier environment. Groups fought for less polluting power plants, eliminating toxic landfills, bans on pesticides, and cleaner roads.

How'd they do it?

In a rare political alignment, Republicans and Democrats created the EPA, and then passed the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.

Could this be done today?

We've got climate change deniers in Congress, and a well-funded pro-polluter lobby drumming the false message that we have to choose between the economy and our precious planet. Such a no-brainer. Where's the economy headed if we can't breathe the air, drink the water or farm on the land?

What can we do with such a divided environmental community?

We've come a long way since 1970, yet we haven't answered all the questions. I'm thinking we need a new uprising, a new mission for Earth Day... a grassroots movement focused on the single most important environmental problem of our time -- global warming. Our parents fought hard for a cleaner environment for their children. And we've learned there is no away.

Maybe it's time to repurpose Earth Day?

Earth Day 1970...

Poster courtesy of IDSA.

 
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