Publisher’s Corner

Earth Day is About Working Together
All 7 Billion of Us!

I was asked in a radio interview recently why I thought the environmental movement has come such a long way since we started The Healthy Planet magazine in 1997. Or why there has been such an outcry of support for Green & Natural Living since the first Earth Day Celebration in St. Louis in 1989. I began to think a bit more about that question after I was off the air and able to collect my thoughts more clearly. I get pretty nervous when I am interviewed and frankly don’t remember what I said to the radio host. But I think the “Green” movement is an evolution of the so called “Flower Power” movement of the 60s and early 70s. How or why saving the planet became a liberal movement, I am not quite sure. Well, I guess there has always been a barrier between those who have and those who have not — those who put more emphasis on creating wealth than conserving or preserving the natural resources it takes to create that wealth. Teddy Roosevelt was a Republican and created the National Park system. He went after and broke up the big money monopolies of the Rockefellers and the Carnegies. Barry Goldwater was a conservative and yet was a staunch conservationist. So I am sometimes bewildered by attributing preservation of the environment and natural places to one party’s platform. Maybe each party should check their historic party playlists before etching their next political platform in stone. I think there is something much more primal about wanting to preserve the environs in which we live. When a hunter or a camper goes into the woods they scout out dry wood to build a fire. They know that there is a finite amount of wood available for the time they have to spend in this campsite. And if they were stranded on an island with only six trees, they would have to contemplate what to do about building that fire before the sixth tree becomes ashes. The truth is, humans are survivors. We face floods, forest fires, hurricanes, snowstorms and tornados. There is nothing innately political about natural disasters. Such is the case with fossil fuels. We are on an island called Earth and our campsite has over 7 billion people who need to be fed and kept warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Like our pioneer ancestors, we need to spend more time thinking about where our next fire will come from rather than whether we like our steak rare or medium well. When a tornado wipes out a town in the Midwest, everyone pitches in to help those in need. No one asks to see your political party membership card. It’s just people helping people. And that is what Earth Day means to me and why the “Green” movement has caught on so well over the past 25 years. Because people care about people in a disaster. No one likes a doomsayer, but we are running out of wood for the fire. I like to think that someone much, much smarter than me, will come up with a new universal form of energy that will free us up from throwing everything around us on the fire. Until then, we need to conserve what we have, support renewable energy sources like wind, solar, geothermal, biomass & hydroelectric. Even if renewables don’t eliminate our use of fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas, they will help clean up our planet and buy us time until we can find a new way to run our cars, heat our homes, and build our campfires. If we know a tornado or hurricane is coming, we batten down the hatches. There is an energy storm brewing and it’s going to take all of us working together to stack the sandbags and carry buckets to the flames. Earth is an island and it’s up to all 7 billion of us to plant more coconut trees, fish the seas responsibly and find a way to turn sand into BTUs. Our national license plate should read, “Innovate or Die.”

Happy Earth Day,
J.B. Lester; Publisher