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Thursday, April 22, 2010


About forty one years ago, Ohio's Cuyahoga River was so polluted that sparks from a nearby train set it on fire.

(I can hear the stoners looking askance, "Wow, man, fire in the water, heavy.")

Not much after, inspired by the freaky flames, Wisconsin's U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson did something that was pretty typical during the seventies -- he whipped a bunch of people into a frenzy and got them to take to the streets, nothing new in that bed in, peace in, love in era.

What was new -- the issue in question, namely the conservation and preservation of our Mother Planet.

Thus, the birthday of Earth Day.

These days, like everything else that is born of good intentions, Earth Day has turned into as yet another one of those gigs: platitudes from politicos, t-shirts and mugs with earth logos, TV news networks churning out stories with videos of smokestacks and small ducks coated in the black detritus of an oil spill.

And everyone goes to bed that night feeling good about themselves. They get a sense of having "done something" for the planet, even though tomorrow morning they will go right back to drinking their lattes out of a styrofoam cup or heating up lunch in a plastic microwave container.

We've reached a stage where some pretty drastic measures need to happen.
For starters, plastic. We should do everything in our power to use as little of it as possible. I recently purchased glass containers in which to store my leftovers in the fridge. There are no plastic chairs on my porch, instead I have wicker and wood, both materials that will eventually biodegrade. And though I have a real affinity for Evian, I've given that up in favor of the Britta system.

Bye bye plastic bottles.

Every trash day I look at my neighbor's piles of junk and am simply agog at the sheer volume of throwaway that each and every house on my street generates. We buy, and buy, and buy stuff, stuff and more stuff -- and then without much thought, throw it away.

I foresee a day in which we simply won't have any more room, and will begin jettisoning some of this junk by putting it into a space capsule and shooting it out through the atmosphere. It's not such a foreign notion -- the first time we visited another celestial body, the moon, what did we do?

Yeah, left behind some of our junk.

Earth, love it because we can't leave it.

Amen, and pass the mustard.

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