Blue + Red = Green

When Earth Day was founded in 1970, our country was rocking on a stormy sea. Richard Nixon was president, we were failing miserably in an unprovoked war far from home, and Rachel Carlson’s Silent Spring had been germinating in American minds for nearly a decade. People were anxious about their futures and worried about the environment.

It’s been 36 years since then. Earth Day is older than many WLT readers—they can date their arrival on the planet as ED (rather than, say, 1970 AD—which, in case you forgot, stands for Anno Domini, or “In the Year of the Lord”) because Earth Day, even with the minimal attention it received at inception, marked the beginning of a major shift in awareness. The movement has continued to grow, and even discounting whatever votes may have been transfigured by Diebold machines in the last presidential election, statistics show that at least half of our country is now thinking progressively. The movement has expanded to include fully half the voting population! That is truly awesome.

And it’s also easy to forget.

Every day, the media bombards us with bad news. Every two seconds television broadcasts images of the old guard, the regressionists, the people who are making decisions that fail to move us forward in any way. I’m definitely a make-lemonade kinda gal, but I have to admit, sometimes I get discouraged, overwhelmed, pulled into feeling despair that we’ve made no progress and can make no progress.

You know what? This is not just negative thinking—it’s inaccurate. Remember, we are half the population. We don’t have to create an alternate reality, because we’ve already done it. It’s already here—we just have to step into it.

Think of all the people who will celebrate Earth Day this month. You could say that some are just seeking entertainment or a frolic in the sun, but even they are celebrating the Earth in their own way. Like the enthusiastic treehuggers on our cover, there will be many, many of us honoring our mother on April 22.

So the question remains: How can we make our celebrations more meaningful? There are probably as many different ways as there are people reading this, so I encourage you to think creatively. You’ve already started by reading this magazine, printed on recycled paper with soy-based ink, but maybe it’s time to try something more direct. What actions can you take—Earth Day and every day—to make a drop of difference to the future of our planet?

I had a nightmare last night. In my dream, global warming was happening so fast that some cities were already under water. Our civilization was literally drowning. In reality, we are already taking steps to stop this from happening, but we need to quicken the pace, and we need those of you who were born ED to take a more active role. It’s more important to you, and yet, only about half of you ages 25-34 are even registered to vote; and among those younger than that—only 39 percent are registered. So come on you beautiful young beings who are going to inherit our fabulous planet! Those of us who are BED (Before Earth Day) babies may be DED by the time you’re our age, and we don’t want to stick you with the mop-up. As for us BEDders? You know what we have to do. Just remember, “You’ve got to admit it’s getting BEDder, a little BEDder all the time.”

Happy Earth Day!

From my heart,
Abigail Lewis

Original Page