Happy Earth Day!

Where were you in 1970 when Earth Day was first celebrated?  I was 7 years old.  My particular corner of Earth was a suburb of Chicago where I played in a Forest Preserve across the street from my house.  I learned to recognize wild flowers like violets and Jack-in-the Pulpit and animals like squirrels and blue jays.  I picked up litter that motorists had thrown out their windows or that picnickers had left in the woods.  I’d often find broken beer or Boones Farm Strawberry Hill bottles near the concrete structure off the trail, within the circle of the remains of a campfire.  I could never understand why people would just leave their trash behind.  My parents would not tolerate that kind of disrespectful behavior in me, and I was incredulous that adults could get away with it.  I would come home and tell my mother (a Girl Scout leader) that I’d found evidence of people not “leaving the place cleaner than they found it”.  I can still feel my girlish outrage.  When I was in 6th grade, I joined an Eco Club and volunteered to help pick up trash in the playground after school.  I think I was the only one.  I remember being alone with a big trash bag, meandering the grounds and talking to myself.  I was very happy feeling that I was contributing to the Ecology Movement.  Now that I’m 50, the scope of my awareness has outgrown the patch of land I call my neighborhood.  I still feel outrage; I still hope to be part of the solution but on a more grown-up scale.  How to do that as an individual is perplexing.  There is not one easy button to push to do it.  It is a network of decisions, with threads crisscrossing from recycling to teaching to voting.  To stay engaged, to keep up the effort, to put energy into learning and practicing responsibility is the way of Earth friendliness.  How is your friendship with Earth going today?

Earth Day© 2014, essay and photographs, Priscilla Galasso, All rights reserved

7 thoughts on “Happy Earth Day!

  1. Splendid photo Scillabuddy…I like it almost as much as the image I have of you wandering around with a bin-bag having heated discussions with yourself….All you would have needed was a brown paper bag hiding a bottle full of hooch to complete my vision of a Chicago childhood.

    On the earth front, last week I was punched in the face after I called a bloke a ‘wanker’ when he threw a fast food bag on the floor. Amazed, I hit him back, surprisingly successfully, and, with a touch of the dramatic, put the bag in the bin for him.
    It’s the first time I’ve engaged in fisticuffs for around forty years and, though I have no plans to do it again, I have considered adding the name ‘Eco-Warrior’ to my profile.

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