I like to think it’s Earth Day Every Day on this site and while I realize treehugger.com will probably have some great stuff today for you as usual, I’ve decided to give you something you can’t get there- what I’ve learned about Earth Day.
As I’ve written before I grew up with a love of nature and science but I’ve considered that as a Black person interested in the environment I may have gotten into this in a different way than The Great Majora Carter and The Great Van Jones. As a teen I was able to take my love of nature into the classroom. In high school I was desperate to avoid chemistry class. It seemed hard and uninteresting. I managed to get Environmental Science class which I took for a year.
Finally, my chance to study this and get credit for it. My first class didn’t disappoint. My teacher was a young, cool white dude with cool, young white dude hair- I know you know what that is. He came in with so much energy, enthusiasm and passion for the subject, enough to match my own and surpass it.
For his first lesson he outlined a globe on the green blackboard in chalk with crudely drawn continents. He said something like
This is the planet we live on.
Everything about environmentalism is about keeping this planet in tact.”
Then he circled the globe vigorously, “The goal is sustainability, which means keeping this in tact so living things can live here.”
It was so basic and to the point I only hope to duplicate communication that clear that on this site. The concept is simple. Must live on this planet. Must identify, reduce or eliminate whatever that goes against us living on this planet.
Class ended shortly after that cause of all the first day paperwork and orienting. After that I never saw my cool, young white dude teacher again. He got in trouble for messing with female students. He was replaced by a much less enthusiastic math teacher who dragged her carcass through every class to make it through every pay period.
My invigorating lessons were replaced with weeks of testing water. I learned freshwater mixed with seawater gives you something called brackish water. I never needed to know that. You will probably never need to know that. What we do need to know is this:
You only get one mom. You only have one earth. This is our home. We should appreciate it. We should take care of it.
I’ve written more about this in “Forget Saving The Planet Save Yourself”
You can go to visit savvybrown.com to read “What Is Earth Day?” to find out the meaning of and history behind Earth Day.