Earth Day Eve

Tomorrow is Earth Day. The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970, when

“twenty million Americans displayed their commitment to a clean environment. It was called the largest demonstration in human history, and it permanently changed the nation’s political agenda. By Earth Day 2000, participation had exploded to 500 million people in 167 countries.  The seemingly simple idea — a day set aside to focus on protecting our natural environment — was the brainchild of U. S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. It accomplished, far beyond his expectations, his lifelong goal of putting the environment onto the nation’s and the world’s political agenda.”  (from The Man From Clear Lake by Bill Christofferson)

That simple idea – that Earth deserves the attention and respect of all its human inhabitants, and protection from harm – seems to me more fundamental than any other ideology formed around life on this planet.

It boggles my mind that damage done to one magnificent cultural edifice can command more attention than the complete destruction of countless forest cathedrals, that concern over relics of antiquity can eclipse the horror of the extinction of living species…including our own.


“In the last 20 years, over 3.5 million hectares of Indonesian and Malaysian forest have been destroyed to make way for palm oil. Almost 80% of orangutan habitat has disappeared in the last 20 years. We are losing over 6,000 orangutans a year.” (from The Orangutan Project website)

“The Holocene extinction, otherwise referred to as the Sixth extinction or Anthropocene extinction, is a current event, and is one of the most significant extinction events in the history of the Earth.” (Wikipedia)

I want to present to you, on the eve of Earth Day, an invitation to reflect on our hubris, our ignorance, and consider ways to protect, conserve, respect, and champion our planet, perhaps with the affection you might tender towards a venerable ancestor.

She’s been around a long, long time. None of us would be here without her. And we have treated her badly. We have made grave mistakes. Perhaps now we can admit we were wrong and make reparation.

For example, PLASTICS. They’ve only been in existence for 60 years or so. We lived without them before; we can live without them again. No big deal…except if you’re protecting the plastic-producing industry instead of the inhabitants of Earth.

Steve and I found a quiz on Climate Change Solutions that yielded some surprising information. I challenge you to test your assumptions about effective ways to curb climate change by clicking HERE.

How will you honor Earth Day this year?

How are you changing habits that have proven destructive?

How are you encouraging love and respect for the environment in people you know?

Like my hero, Jane Goodall, I have hope in the ability of humans to make moral choices about how to behave towards the planet. In an interview with Mongabay, “Dr. Jane” gives five reasons to have hope for the planet: 

  • The energy, commitment, and hard work of young people once they understand the problems and are empowered to discuss and ACT upon solutions.
  • The human brain.
  • The resilience of Nature. 
  • The indomitable human spirit – the people who tackle seemingly impossible tasks and won’t give up.
  • My most recent reason for hope is the power of social media.

I feel acutely the urgency of making better decisions and practicing to do no harm in whatever way we can. Please leave a comment if you would like to share examples of your practice that may edify me and others.

Thank you for reading this post. May you enjoy the beauty of the planet where we live, Earth, in a deeply personal way tomorrow.

  (all photos in the gallery under copyright by Priscilla Galasso) 

Protect & Invest in Ecosystems

So, my daughter Susan took my photos and made a beautiful slideshow PSA to remind people how important it is to invest in and protect our state ecosystems for the good of the land and for generations to come. Please VOTE on November 6th and use the power of your choice to help conserve our natural places. 

THE BeZINE, Vol.2, Issue 12, Environment/Environmental Justice

This is what I’ve been working on. Besides editing, I wrote 3 pieces and Steve wrote one. Please click on the Be Zine link and enjoy all the contributions! I couldn’t be more enthusiastic about sharing. This is a hugely important arena, encompassing life, health, and EVERYTHING!

THE BeZINE

September 15, 2016

The Environment is a complex array of interconnections and interbeing (as Thich Nhat Hahn would say). Steve & I have various metaphors for this. He likes to refer to “his bowling pins”. He imagines setting up a toy set of pins on a lawn and bowling at them. When they scatter, you set them back up exactly where they landed and bowl again. This takes you all over the neighborhood in endless permutations. I think of “trophic cascades”, changes in an ecosystem that originate at an extinction or other dramatic altering of balance, similar perhaps to “the domino effect” but less linear. However you try to wrap your brain around it, the nature of Life on this planet is intricate and incomprehensible. We are wise to approach it with the utmost humility. Because we are intrinsically involved, however, we must not fear to engage. We are already…

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Achievement

Hoo, boy.  This challenge is monumental.  What is “achievement”?  Stay with me, folks…

It’s rather an emotional concept to me.  I was just discussing ‘success’ with Steve yesterday.   I am 52 years old, currently unemployed, and trying to venture into an area of work for which I never had any formal education.  I feel rather ‘late to the party’ trying to become an environmental writer/National Park Service guide/eco-activist (or whatever it is I will become) at this stage of life.  My perfectionist voice keeps talking about how unqualified I am.  What have I ever done to merit respect in this field?

Well, here’s what: I’ve grown.  Every day that I read more about the health of our planet, every part-time customer service or education job I took, every decision I re-examined over these years is a stepping stone toward living a life I’ll be proud of.  I can do better at being the person I want to be.  And I can keep working on that goal until the day I die. 

Maybe “Achievement” is simply growing into being the best you can be, year by year.  Here’s my illustration (and inspiration): sequoia sempervirens. 

achievementNow THAT’S something to look up to!

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

The Other Side of Bliss

This morning, I posted a Photography 101 assignment on Bliss.  (You can scroll down to see that or click on the link to the right under Recent Posts.)  I “bliss out” when I am with people I love who love me.  I am a Lover by temperament.  I get all relaxed and happy and dreamy when my love tank is full.  It feels very nice, and I tend to fall asleep.  This is bliss. 

The other side of this, the fierce energy of love, is not far away, however.  I CARE about my loved ones.  I CARE about the environment.  I have a lot of beautiful landscape photos on this blog.  Those would depict the bliss I feel about loving the Earth.  But it’s not a sleepy bliss.  My relationship with Earth is not in the blissful, dreamy lover stage.  The Earth is in distress, and I am in distress with it.  The election results this week are chilling to me.  I got this letter from the Natural Resources Defense Council yesterday:

“Prepare yourself. Yesterday’s election results will put the Senate under new management, and its incoming leader — Senator Mitch McConnell — has made no secret of his pro-polluter, anti-environmental agenda.

Simply put, come January, both houses of Congress will be run by a faction of climate deniers and friends of the Koch Brothers. A list of the attacks they have threatened to unleash is as long as it is alarming —

They want to force approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline … cripple the President’s bold plan to crack down on the power plant pollution that is driving climate chaos … open the Arctic Refuge to oil drilling launch a full-blown attack on the Endangered Species Act … restrict the government’s ability to protect our drinking water from fracking … slash budgets that promote clean energy … and strip the EPA of its authority to block the disastrous Pebble Mine.

… GOP leaders are making a huge mistake — a potentially fatal mistake — if they think this election has given them a mandate to deepen our addiction to fossil fuels and shred our environmental laws.

Poll after poll shows overwhelming support for strong environmental protection. An ABC/Washington Post survey has reported that 70 percent of Americans view climate change as a serious problem and want the government to tackle it.

House and Senate leaders ignore these facts at their peril. …But, historically, there seems to be something about the headiness of victory that makes the fossil fuel lobby overreach and try to ram radical policies down the throats of the American people.

We’ve seen this movie before. In 1994, Newt Gingrich swept to power in the House, brandishing a “Contract with America” that never mentioned the word “environment.” But once installed, the new majority claimed a mandate for undoing 25 years of environmental protections.

NRDC and our allies fought back hard by mobilizing an enraged public; more than one million Americans wrote or phoned Congress in protest. In the end, the House leadership gambled everything — their budget, their power, their agenda — on an extremist assault on nature. They lost, and found out the hard way that protecting the environment is a bedrock American value.

We must do no less this time.

NRDC will bring everything to bear — the grassroots power of 1.4 million Members and online activists like you, the advocacy clout of our legal and scientific teams and the unmatched effectiveness of our rapid response operation — to stave off Mitch McConnell’s Big Polluter Agenda.

But playing defense is not enough. If we are to avoid the most catastrophic outcomes of an overheating planet, we’ve got to prevail on the Obama Administration to reject the Keystone pipeline, deliver on the toughest possible power plant rules and move America beyond all fossil fuels as rapidly as possible.

That is our planet’s last best hope for a sustainable future — and we are not going to let Congress stand in the way.”

I want to use the anger energy that is in my fierce love for this beautiful world to make a difference in the policies and mindsets that determine action.  I vote, I blog, I talk to people I know.  I want to raise awareness, to educate if I can.  Why are we harming the ones we love?  It is madness.  The opposite of bliss. 

Sign along Hwy 137 in New Mexico; near Guadalupe National Park and Lincoln National Forest...and oil wells.

Sign along Hwy 137 in New Mexico; near Guadalupe National Park and Lincoln National Forest…and oil wells. “Generally, any gas- processing facility where hydrogen sulfide is present at concentrations of 100 ppm or more must take reasonable measures to forewarn and safeguard people that have occasion to be on or near the area. Wells drilled where there is substantial probability of people encountering hydrogen sulfide gas in concentrations of 500 ppm or more must have warning “poison gas” signs.”

Elect Eco Leaders!

As you head to the polls, I want to encourage you to Look UP! 

Battleship Rock

Battleship Rock, Jemez Mountains, New Mexico

Look up from your life, past your own career, beyond your own neighborhood.  Look to the wider world when you vote.  What kind of leadership are you electing for the future?  What kind of vision are you supporting?  Are you helping to put in place legislatures that will protect natural resources or exploit them?  Are you voting for human development or for the environment that hosts all life?  These are challenging times, and much hangs in the balance. 

How will you stand on the Earth? 

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