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Saturday, April 17, 2004

Earthday 2004 

Eighteen years ago while I was still teaching and very confident, if somewhat confused about my future the college that tolerated my youthful effusiveness managed in its own starry-eyed enthusiasm to capture a ray of sunlight. On a wonderfully warm and bright blue spring day in May of 1986 a person came to our campus who, for some of us, epitomized the reality of our potential, our possibilities our estimation of the future. Armed with nothing more than our Star Trek induced faith in the perfection of the future we were about to hear a lecture from Jean Cousteau son of Jacques Cousteau the living symbol of 20th century scientific activism, and we were eager; I mean here was the son of the man whom we had all watched as he single-handedly opened a pathway to the final frontier, the son of the man who was " Captain Nemo" aka "Captain Kirk", Jacques Cousteau.

We listened that day mesmerized as Jean Cousteau presided over our environmental forum and enunciated his father's vision: one world, one ocean, one chance, I've been "Green" ever since.

Now, I know that Nemo and Kirk are cultural icons and I understand that youth knows no bounds, but on the eve of this years "Earth Day" celebrations, being a publisher and no longer quite so unsure of my future I now have a chance to be Kirk and Nemo and reveal the reality behind "Green" and sometimes, not so green, in our 21st century.

Approaching "Earth Day" 2004, I had been looking for something you know, "green", an op-ed piece that would inspire participation, encourage a day off, a day in the sun, a day to enjoy and honor earth and (you have to know the song and hum along here OK) our

mountain greenery
Where God paints the scenery,
Just three crazy people together
Ooh, while you love your lover,
Let blue skies be your coverlet
When it rains, we'll laugh at the weather

We could find no cleaner
Retreat from life's machinery
Than our mountain greenery
With its mountain scenery
Bless our mountain greenery home

and I found it, or so I thought, The Greening Earth Society an environmental organization I'd not heard of before, although they sounded very familiar. Here was a website to write a story about and add to our links page and all on the eve of Earthday. Who ever created this web site must surely have been on the same campus as I in 1986 along with Jean and Jacques and Kirk.

I began to drill down further into this seemingly "Green" site and found that while they present well with bonafide credentials, headlines about clean air and water, phrases like "Climate Alerts", "Climate History", "Change"... "Politics", all you could ask for in a website that promotes ecologically responsible policies, well I'll just sit back and let you read the following quotes from their page.

"CO2 is required for life on earth. It cannot be reasonably construed to be a pollutant. With proper stewardship, the ability of earths plant life to sequester carbon in soils can result in a host of benefits. CO2 and Climate.org provides sound information about CO2 and climate to educators, students, business and media representatives, community leaders and policymakers alike.

Greening Earth Society sponsors CO2 and Climate.org as an online source of information concerning the impact of the atmospheres increasing concentration of carbon dioxide (C02) on earths climate and the biosphere.

Our climate focus expresses scientific skepticism concerning the potential for catastrophic changes in climate due to humanity's emissions of CO2.

Our CO2 focus concerns the science of carbon sequestration by terrestrial plant life and the benefits to plant life from carbon dioxide fertilization."

Wait, what is this, "CO2 ... cannot be reasonably construed to be a pollutant", "scientific skepticism", "potential for catastrophic changes"... who are these people and what have they done with The Greening Earth Society? Scroll to the bottom of their page:

"Greening Earth Society is a not-for-profit membership organization comprised of rural electric cooperatives and municipal electric utilities, their fuel suppliers, and thousands of individuals."

The moral of the editorial is that if you are enthusiastic about "Earth Day" and you want to participate do it with heart, do it with spirit and do it with lots of research.

To experience an actual "Green" site go to EnviroLink for event schedules or to post your own Earth Day Event.

Have a great Earth Day.

Post Script: If you want to see a linking site of The Greening Earth Society go to Accuracy in Media but that's another story which I'll save for National Journalism Day.


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