The cliche "Every Day is Earth Day" has never meant more to me than it does today. Like the lives that preceded us and the species that will follow, our anatomy, physiology and behavior was crafted by millions of years of evolution. Selection for survival has reinforced the value of the immediate reward, and emphasized the importance of living in the now at the expense of considering the future. We are a short-sighted species and our desire to live for today has enabled humanity's collective intellect to ignore the importance of climatic stability. While I am not invoking evolution as an excuse for willful ignorance, I do understand how we have arrived at this place.
The pro environmental campaigns of the 1960's and 70's like "Pitch In" and "Give a hoot! Don't pollute," now seem trivial when compared to the issues we currently face. Once the hallmark of Earth Day activities, trash removal and recycling appear to be little more than feel good attempts to ease a guilty conscience. The hard work of climate remediation will require both a personal and collective sacrifice, something that will be a real challenge for species that thrives on short-term gains. The relentless attack on the planet by business and political forces only serve to feed an inherent desire to reap an immediate reward during the one life we live. The narrative that declares that climate science is bunk, is just the right candy for a brain that wishes to have it all at no personal cost. Recognition that we are the problem as well as the solution is the first step. Once we allow ourselves to dignify the truth and recognize that honoring the future has the potential to enhance the present, the evolutionary instinct to survive may lead to the solution we seek and need.
Today is the day we honor the Earth, but today needs to be Every Day if we hope to honor our home in the future.
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