earth day

April 21st, 2006

Earth Day festivities took place today at the college where I work. I signed a card to encourage Apple to provide free recycling for their old computers and listened to a little speech about Green Mountain Engery. Then I admired a Hybrid car and started hoping for the demise of my decade-old Saturn.

The event was planned, organized, and run by students, and I was impressed by their passion for the environment and for making the world a better, cleaner place. They wanted to talk to anyone willing to listen.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve cared about environmental issues and wanted to do my part to help. When I was in the 4th or 5th grade, I decided I wanted to walk to school on Earth Day instead of taking the bus. I realize now that this was mostly unnecessary since the bus techincally counts as public transportation, but at the time it was really important to me. My parents explained that it was a long walk and we’d have to wake up early, but I wasn’t deterred. The school bus passed my Dad and me as we made the 45-minute walk, but I felt that my symbolic (and physically-intensive) act was an important contribution to Earth Day 1990.

When I was 12 the question may have been “why do I care so much?” But now that I’m 27 the question is “why don’t other people care more?” It makes me angry to see people leave trash on the ground. I hate throwing away a soda can at the house of people who don’t recycle. It makes me sad to walk through a parking lot where a ridiculous majority of the vehicles are taller than me, waste huge amounts of oil, and destroy the planet just so they have extra space and can see over the cars of the people whose lives they are risking for the sake of their own.

I don’t understand why other people don’t care–at least, not as much as I do. Why doesn’t it bother them that we live in a dirty world that’s getting worse with every mile driven and every piece of trash dropped and every little thing sent to a landfill that could be remade into a new product? Why can’t they take the extra few minutes to recycle? Why won’t they buy the compact flourescent light bulbs that save insane amounts of electricity? Why aren’t they concerned about global warming’s effect on them and on their children and especially on their children’s children? Why are the people who really care and really try to make a difference a small minority? What about everyone else?

And then the one that really gets me: How can Christians believe in a Creator who made all of the earth and everything in it, and then not bother to take care of it? If America is such a Christian country, why is it such a wasteful and resource-hogging place?

I understand how other people aren’t interested in reading, or photography, or other things I’m interested in. But I can’t understand why they aren’t interested in doing anything and everything they can to take care of the earth.

I just don’t get it.

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