After 40 Years, Protecting the Environment Becomes “Overnight Sensation”

I celebrated the very first Earth Day as a high school senior in 1970. As students across the U.S. buried polluting automobiles, decried oil spills that were fouling pristine beaches, and protested nuclear power plants, I thought it would be only a matter of months before Americans would come to their senses and adopt an ethic focused on protecting both people and the planet.

Instead, it's taken almost 40 years for citizens, companies, and elected officials to consider environmental destruction seriously. The delay has cost us all. The climate has changed, with deadly consequences worldwide. Risks to human health from environmental pollutants are growing, threatening children and adults alike. Plants and animals are approaching extinction levels at alarming rates, giving rise to concerns about the collapse of the global food chain and loss of the creatures that add a rich dimension to our lives.   

Scientists intone that we have only ten years to "turn things around."  A grim forecast? Yes.  And yet, after all these years, I have hope. While many government leaders still refuse to acknowledge the changes that can save us and the planet, citizens and entrepreneurs have embraced the challenges at full throttle. Four decades after the first Earth Day, tens of thousands of blogs worldwide are elevating the issues and offering solutions. Thousands of entrpreneurs are developing products and technologies to save energy, protect air and water, and conserve wilderness and wildlife. Students have once again made "green" the mantra for the world they want to live in – and are willing to work for. If this were Hollywood, the critics would be applauding like mad and labeling environmentalism an "overnight sensation."

The Green Moms Carnival is celebrating gratitude throughout the month of November. I am grateful for the newfound momentum that is sweeping the planet and may very well save it.

Thank you.   Hands earth

6 Responses to After 40 Years, Protecting the Environment Becomes “Overnight Sensation”

  1. JessTrev October 26, 2008 at 10:16 am #

    And, in large part, whether we move wisely on these issues is due to efforts like yours – and for that I’m grateful (cozying up with my copy of Big Green Purse this morning and loving it).

  2. Anna October 26, 2008 at 10:20 am #

    It is amazing how long it takes for ideas to become a fever pitch. Perhaps if we would heed the signs rather wait for a crisis or near disaster, we would never be in some of the situations we get ourselves in.
    Thank goodness, that the world is waking up. Thanks goodness, for people like you, Diane, who never gave up as we found our way.

  3. Mother Earth October 26, 2008 at 8:08 pm #

    I too feel a momentum that has me feel like I’m actually part of something darn it! I was only 10 when the first earth day occurred and yet I have leaned green most of my life. With grim on the horizon it will be very interesting to see what kind of of history we call all make and how we can shift this planet around for generations to come. You are still leading the way Diane!

  4. Jennifer Taggart, TheSmartMama October 26, 2008 at 8:24 pm #

    While it may have taken us a bit to get here, I too feel like I’m part of some larger, some worthwhile, and something that will make a difference. I too am thankful we have this “overnight sensation” – let’s just hope it isn’t too late.

  5. Jenn (The Green Parent) October 27, 2008 at 3:43 pm #

    I couldn’t agree more Diane! It’s great to see green catching on and becoming the latest “trend,” even if it is 40 years in the making!
    –Jenn

  6. Stephanie - Green SAHM October 28, 2008 at 8:57 pm #

    It’s really something to watch. Even people I know who dislike environmentalists are being more careful about recycling, using CFLs and getting more serious about home gardens. All while still using negative labels to talk about environmentalists, as the particular folks I’m thinking about are highly conservative Republicans. But they’re taking more green steps, and I love watching it!
    And of course, most overnight sensations happen after years of effort. It’s just that average folks don’t notice it until suddenly everyone is seeing it.

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