Earth Day at 50

 

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April 22, 2020

On the first Earth Day I was 18 years old, living with my parents and attending San Fernando Valley State College as a freshman.  Little did I understand that I was coming of age during an amazing shift in cultural consciousness that reached a tipping point when the first photographs of earth from outer space came out.  The blue marble was so striking, so obviously different from other planets, so wondrous: a living planet.  And we are a part of it; we can point to where we live!  Mind-blowing image.

This shift in collective consciousness spawned “Earth Day” which was the largest political demonstration in US history!  Twenty million people, 10% of the population, participated.  With the incredible energy generated by this grass roots event, amazing political wins were achieved in America:  EPA, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Endangered Species Act.  As Earth Day grew older it gradually became a merchandizing slogan and reason for a litter campaign.   For the last few decades the landmark laws have been under steady attack , and they are now being shredded as I write, deemed impediments to economic growth and profit.  The “shift in consciousness” has had a bumpy ride.  And that brings us to…CovidWorld.

The flora and fauna seem to be enjoying CovidWorld.  I take daily excursions on the bike to observe and document this strange new world that seems suspended in time.  The trees relish the fresh air, the birdsongs ring clearly,  the critters that scurry about seem to sense the moment.  The great pause is having a rejuvenating effect on the natural world that surrounds us.  It’s a striking contrast to the pain and suffering that so many humans are going through at the same time.   Bittersweet.

The pandemic is now roughly five or six weeks old in America and the first wave has hit several areas, and has flattened in some.  Our unpreparedness and fumbled response is not getting much better. The lack of coordination, the flood of misinformation and the rise of conspiracy theories, are leading some to sabotage efforts to fight the virus.   Unfortunately, because there is still not adequate testing so we can “test, trace and isolate”…mass stay-at-home orders are all we can do.  That makes people crazy after a while.  Sadly, it looks like we will be hunkered down for a long time while enduring wave after wave until the ones practicing “social-closeness” learn.  Covid doesn’t care about the political spin and crazy lying.

 

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