It’s a bit of a challenge, to imagine what Earth Day will look like in ten years. Part of that challenge arises from the fact that it depends on what we do throughout that decade to deal with and try to correct the ravages of incipient climate change effects.
It’s Earth Day 2021, and I hope the world’s leaders will boldly go where none have gone before. I am optimistic.
Having been shaken to our collective core by the COVID19 pandemic, can we muster the will to make major changes in how we rebuild our systems, to truly transform how we function as a society for the betterment of Earth and her inhabitants? What cause is more just, fair, and wise?
Maybe the pandemic, along with the resulting temporary shuttering of travel and commerce, is an opportunity to rethink and reboot both our individual lives and our collective ways of being on this precious planet. That would make this Earth Day a truly meaningful occasion.
Does the environmental movement launched a half-century ago reflect the vibrant diversity of the American people? Does that movement address environmental justice issues that disproportionately affect people of color?
Perhaps it isn’t enough to celebrate Earth Day once a year. Maybe we need to be thinking every day about what we need to do, where we go from here, and how we to face our future.
It is in this joyous and self-congratulatory atmosphere [of the first Earth Day] that a curmudgeonly I.F. Stone, by now a full-fledged icon on the left, takes the stage. And he unapologetically rains on the parade, accusing Earth Day of providing cover for escalating war and calling for a movement willing to demand “enormous changes—psychological, military, and bureaucratic—to end the existing world system, a system of hatred, of anarchy, of murder, of war and pollution.”
Much has changed since the first Earth Day in 1970. Not only have our ecological crises come into sharper focus, it has also become obvious that we need to rescue not just the Earth, but also its people from the clutches of an economy gone mad.
If Earth Day offers a moment to reflect on how we’re treating the planet, then it’s critical to use this moment to rethink our approach to agriculture.