Everything was dark about that evening, including the nightgown she chose to wear. The sky was working its way from a lovely crimson glow to an alarming vision of indigo skin diseased with purpura-like spots. She, sweet and full of mischief, was unwinding from another episode of elementary school drama when she decided to sit next to me and watch television. She smiled, pulled the blanket over her lap and gave me a hug as if all was right with the world. Little did she know that the next sixty minutes would shake her to the very core.
What seemed like the beginning of a documentary began and my child watched, because that’s what one does when focusing on the screen. There on the screen my child watched as large portions of Florida underwent a disappearing act by way of ocean water. What once was a face of delight and sugar had suddenly become a face covered with the type of facial expression usually elicited by a Japanese horror flick. It was a commercial on global warming, specifically focusing on the rapid speeds of glaciers melting. I want to blame Al Gore, but I honestly can’t remember much about the “commercial”, except that its goal was to scare the bejesus out of young, innocent girls.
I remember my daughter asking me a series of questions laced in panic and worry. Her pretty little self concerned with the safety of family members and Disney World. While I feel it is very important that children be aware of environmental issues, I feel that this could have come about in a better fashion other than watching “Uncle Tony” and “Titi Eva” drown. Of course, this is an argument for another day at another time, but the questions remain valid and just. What can we do to save the Floridians? In a wider spectrum, what can we do to save the earth? How can we do it? Where do we begin?
April 22, 2010 will mark the 40thanniversary of Earth Day. It is a day dedicated to placing environmental issues front and center. A day when that which cannot speak, speaks. A day when the pebbles we kick, the stones we throw, the branches we swing from have a voice. April 22, 2010 also marks the second year my daughter and I will have observed the holiday. While we know we can’t single-handedly solve the problem of glaciers melting, we can partake in some concrete activities that will go towards a healthier earth. Last year we both planted trees. This year we have planned to wear the color green and have promised to walk more (or use a bicycle) instead of benefitting from the ease of New York City public transportation (do detect the sarcasm there).
Granted, we can’t completely cut everything out (I’d be a hypocrite to suggest that) and most times we can't even cut it out halfway, but it’s a start, even if the start is simply a thought. This is where one begins in order to save the Floridians or to contribute to slower speeds of glacier melting. One starts at home by changing little things here and there. One starts by throwing their trash in garbage cans, by turning off appliances when they aren’t in use, by recycling not only garbage, but random items in the home by giving them new life and new purpose, by carpooling, by turning off lights and so on.
I don't know about you but I certainly intend on continued use of Mother Nature’s perks, but Mother Nature will not have to give us if we don’t tend to her needs. As I’m sure you’ve heard, Earth Day should be everyday. However imagine what it would mean for the Floridians if on this one day, every single person decided to do one thing in favor of the earth. I’m guessing they’d be pretty okay with the current nuisance of finding alligators in their backyards versus being a part of a disappearing act.
Happy Earth Day!