“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”- Gandhi
This was the tag line on the bottom of my pocket calendar, this 4th week of April, 2019. So random, so timely, so vital.
I saw so many people doing just this last Monday on Earth Day at the square in Springfield, MO.
I saw local high school and university students forming the planet earth complete with raised green umbrellas symbolizing land, blue umbrellas as oceans, white umbrellas as polar caps, with a red umbrella in the middle of the United States representing Springfield, MO.
I saw international students from MSU encircling that globe and unfurling ten different national flags in the wind, from Kenya to China to India, to Pakistan, and more.
I saw we, of original Earth Day celebration times, “pass the torch” in the form of those umbrellas to a new generation of young leaders to plan next year’s 50th celebration, and assume the mantel of leadership for protecting our environment over the coming decades.
I listened to inspiring presentations from Missouri House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, Glendale Ecology teacher Justine Lines, and Kane Sheek of the Sierra Club, Missouri Chapter.
I heard the inspiring story of Justine Campbell, young founder of the Springfield Compost Collective.
I saw Loring Bullard, veteran environmental leader, and Beth Siegfreid, educator, look on with pride as their inspirational “Re-generation of Earth” metaphor unfolded in front of us all.
I saw Linda Chorice, Barbara Lucks, Tim Smith, Joe Pitts, Terry Whaley, and Kane Sheek celebrate the culmination of their weeks of planning efforts.
I saw a city drone brave gusty winds and capture the video attached to this post. Take a look…Earth on the Square almost looks alive with with bright colors and the breeze ruffling international flags.
I saw only one umbrella blow open upside down!
I saw Sixty Mature Earth Warriors (MEWS) and sixty Young Earth Advocates (YEAS) breath life into the words of Mahatma Gandhi.
I saw a lot. And, I walked away feeling inspired and hopeful despite the unprecedented current threats and challenges to fifty years of progress in understanding and protecting our fragile earth home.
On April 22, 1970, 20,000,000 Americans, nearly 10% of the population, took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to implement Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson’s idea for a “national teach-in on the environment” in massive coast to coast rallies.
I was fortunate to witness that first Earth Day celebration in NYC. I remember the energy, the passion, the anger.
Americans accomplished their mission that day. They forced environmental protection onto the national political agenda, and they achieved a rare alignment between political parties that fostered the Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts, the Endangered Species Act, and many other earth friendly initiatives.
Our national environmental regression of the past two years threatens that progress and the very future of our planet.
To paraphrase wise Gandhi, “WE must be the change WE wish to see in the world.”
Oh yes. I got to wish my 41 year old Earth Day son, born that magical date 4/22/1978, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
Earth Day is one special day.