“The world is not our facility
We have a responsibility
To use our abilities to keep this place alive…”
— Fugazi, “Burning Too”
On April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day demonstrations were held. As the record recalls, “20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.”*
Nearly fifty years have passed since the first Earth Day, and yet our environment still dances on the brink of a global collapse. For every proposed wind farm, there is a hoard of NIMBY protestors who care only for their room with a beautiful view. For every small step taken towards forming a global coalition to protect the environment, there’s a jackass president waiting in the wings, scheming to take America backwards a century through hubris and deliberate deception.
So, what are we suggesting here?
That we can’t trust our politicians?
Well, certainly not the ones we have in office now, that is for sure.
Can we not count on our neighbors?
Honestly, that’s probably not your best bet.
No, friends, our best bet is on the devil we know the best: ourselves. Acceptance of one’s individual responsibility to the Earth is really all we have right now, especially at a time where the clock is ticking, yet there’s no clear collective path in sight.
This is why Earth Day is so important. It’s a fully transparent reminder that collective apathy is tough to beat—but a far more complicated battle is the one that occurs in our minds.
Am I doing enough to protect this habitat that I cherish so much?
Am I being led by fear, or by fact?
Am I doing my part?
The only way to answer these questions is to stand up and say, “I’m going to do something to make a difference today, and I don’t care who’s coming with me.”
The following is a list of Earth Day 2019 Clean Up events throughout the New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia regions.