Recently, I sat on a panel (which I mentioned in a previous blog) in which it was suggested that what we need is new language to address our environmental concerns, since our present terminology no longer seems to be resonating with a large sector of the public (a phenomenon I like to refer to as “global boring”). But it wasn’t until Earth Day — or what passed for it – rolled around this year that I was hit by just how disconnected from the fate of the planet our society has become.
A case in point: When I asked eight family members at an Easter reunion what they thought of this year’s Earth Day observance, how they thought it had been handled by the media, whether there was anything about it that caught their attention, most were shocked that they’d missed it.
But that really didn’t surprise me after having attended what was suppose to have been an Earth Day celebrity event in Beverly Hills. I went with a friend of mine who paid a hefty price for tickets, only to find there really was no one there, the “big celeb” being an American idol finalist whom I never heard of. Not even Ed Begley Jr. was in attendance.
O f course, one can make excuses that the timing this year was particularly unfortunate. A friend of mine even joked that the lack of interest may have been result of the occasion’s coinciding with Good Friday, which had many people more focused on heaven than earth. But I think that was at best a secondary consideration.
No, to me the lackluster reception for Earth Day this year just confirmed that we need not only a new terminology, but a new way to observe the day. Instead of just using the occasion to warn about all the destructive elements that threaten the Earth’s livability – something that, despite its urgency (or perhaps because of it), has begun to turn people off — the emphasis should be on celebrating all the Earth gives us. Perhaps if the observance were a lot more positive in tone — a kind of 4th of July for the entire planet – the public would start responding to it with a lot more enthusiasm. I think we can succeed in regenerating interest in this four-decade-old old event by simply changing the paradigm. That’s why I’m getting ready to post a web site called earthdayfun.com, at which I’d like to feature any ideas or suggestions you might have on how that might best be accomplished. (if we‘re able to use them, we’ll be sure and give you credit.). We have an entire year to plan for the “rebirth” of Earth Day as a joyous rather than solemn occasion. So let’s get busy bringing back the crowds next April by creating a truly “happy Earth Day”