The first official Earth Day was celebrated 46 years ago, in 1970. I remember we took a family camping trip to Massachusetts and attended an exposition of all sorts of inventions designed to save the planet, including geodesic domes created by Buckminster Fuller.
Back then, we drove with leaded gas, didn’t recycle and I’m sure did many more things harmful to earth. Science and habits have contributed greatly to our understanding of need to preserve our resources to continue life as we know it here on Earth.
When I first started teaching in the late 1980’s at what was then Project Link, an alternative junior high school in Newark, NJ, the day began with the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, and then the Pledge to the Earth:
I pledge allegiance to the Earth and all its sacred parts,
Its water, land and living things and all its human hearts
I pledge allegiance to all life and promise I shall care
To love and cherish all its gifts with people everywhere
When I returned to this school last fall (and stayed only three months), I asked if students still recited this pledge. For whatever reason, it had been dropped many years ago. I’m saddened that this part of the school was lost, though students participate in community clean-up efforts and other outside endeavors. I liked the daily reminder that we’re the planet’s stewards and it’s up to us to stop pollution, climate change, and other destructive behaviors.
Today coincides with the first night of Passover, an apt pairing as each celebrate rebirth and new life.
I took a quick ride (21 miles) through the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge and stopped to watch the swans. Every time I ride through here, I’m grateful to the forefathers and foremothers who had the wisdom to save this area from development.