I think Valentine’s Day is weak. It seems to symbolize that once a year we celebrate the person or people that we love. Shouldn’t we do that every day? Shouldn’t we wake up every morning wondering how we can be worthy of love, how we can celebrate those that we love. Earth Day, although it had a noble beginning, has be come the New Valentines. Once a year, we elect to take alternative transportation, or pick up trash on a beach or trail. Once a year, companies have an event focused on the environment, check the box and move forward. We celebrate Earth Day with heart shaped planet cartoons and hubris.

It is good to remember the past as it directs the future. Valentine’s Day, like Earth Day, had a somewhat noble beginning. Valentine’s Day was stated during the Roman Empire to sort of replace a “let’s be naked in the streets, slaughter animals and whip women” event into something more about love and commitment of love. The first Earth Day, April 22, 1970 was a lot like that, noble in its beginning.

You see, back in 1970 there was no EPA, which meant there was no enforcement of the Clean Water Act 1948 or Clean Air Act of 1963. Earth Day was created by Senator Gaylord Nelson as a way to combat the toxic waste being pumped into streams and air. 20 million Americans demonstrated, demanding that our environment, and ultimately our health, mattered. In July of 1970, Nixon founded the EPA. The Clean Air Act was amended, and fortified July 1970 and the clean Water Act amended in 1972 and then again in 1977. Earth Day was a catalyst to do more, to make things better. We have forgotten that.

I think it is time to go back to the origin of Earth Day. As people bicker if climate change is real, or perhaps a political agenda. Perhaps let’s use Earth Day as a starting point to improve from and make things better. Let’s recognize that no one wants to drink radioactive water or breathe noxious fumes. Let’s pretend that we all live here and that matters. This Earth Day start your path. Ask yourself “what difference can I make on a recurring basis.” A friend of mine in California takes trash bags with her when she hikes. Every time she hikes, she picks up litter. Every time…. not just Earth Day. Imagine what would happen if we all approached Earth Day like that? It is time to stop talking and act. Let’s move forward with a comfortably uncomfortable question of “What Can I do today to protect and make things better?” Small and incremental adds up.

Happy Earth Day. Let’s get moving forward.

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