Image via CBC News
It’s Earth Day. A day that, in my mind conjures up images of class trips around the neighborhood collecting garbage, and sorting cans in the playground. It would seem that all of my Earth Day memories are directly from my childhood – my elementary school must have been quite progressive on the environmental front for the mid-1990′s. Kudos to Mr. Smith. (Note: I was wrong! See above photo taken in 1970 on the very first Earth Day)
Earth Day represents something much more complex to me now as an adult. On one hand, it is a reminder that we still need a reminder to think about how we are caring for the Earth. On the other, it is an exciting opportunity to encourage our youth that they can help to shape the future for generations to follow.
Somewhere along the line I think many of us forgot that this is true. It is a simple concept, but it’s hard for us to imagine that our small actions can make a major impact. We know intuitively that collectively they can.
I read an inspiring article tonight written by Academy Award-nominated actor/Crowdrise Co-Founder Edward Norton; “Earth Day 2012: This Isn’t About Tree-Hugging Anymore, It’s About the Way We Live“. The actor-turned-Environmental activist spent years learning the ropes from his father, Edward Norton, Jr. – a high profile Environmental Lawyer. In the article, Norton wrote of our current challenge as a generation:
I think that every generation is called in different ways to a higher purpose and is forced to realize that the Great Challenge of an era will identify itself; we don’t get to choose it. My grandparent’s generation certainly had other plans when they rose and faced the great battles against fascism and totalitarianism; my parents’ generation sacrificed care-free youth to carry the torch of civil rights and social equality.
A sentiment that rings incredibly true. He proceeds to discuss some of the changes that must be made, which transcend political boundaries. How is that possible? Simple. We all want our families and friends to be healthy and thrive. You can read the full article here.
In closing, Norton shared the words of Martin Luther King -
“We have no time to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.”
Whether you spend Earth Day out cleaning up the streets, in a meeting discussing ways to initiate change, planting a vegetable garden, or reading a book to your child – though it may not appear this way, they are all forms of Environmental Activism.
Happy Earth Day!