Today is Earth Day. You didn’t forget did you? Unfortunately, as Husna Haq writes in the Christian Science Monitor, it may be Earth Day itself that needs saving, not the Earth. Haq cites polls showing that back on the inaugural Earth Day in 1971, 63 percent of Americans saw restoring the natural environment as “very important.” This year, according to a huffpost/YouGov poll, only 39 percent think restoring the environment is important. Why could this be?
First, it is a very different world now than it was in 1971. It could be much to the current GOP’s chagrin that the most effective and far-reaching environmental laws in the United States were enacted and endorsed under a Republican administration. Back then cities were chocked with smoke and rivers burned. In a sense, the rampant pollution of our air and water was more local, more “real” in people’s lives. There was no question that rivers should not catch on fire or that the skies should not darken with smog.