Apologies to John Lennon for the title.
I figure since it's Earth Day, someone should post something here to mark the occasion. That's not my being snotty, either. But what can academically minded people say about such a strange holiday?
I'll say two things, if only briefly, of which only the second is academically minded.
One, Cassie and I decided to spend the day not using our cars and expending as little energy at home as possible. To be honest, though, it wasn't that hard. It was easy to leave the TV off--if all you have is CBS, all you had today is motocross, golf, and a Dean Cain made-for-TV movie. No losses at all there. We cooked a quick dinner and spent most of the day walking and futzing about the library. We are both mid-papers so the computers were our big conceit, but even then I turned off the monitor every time I left the room. I suppose in retrospect, though, I should have better power settings to manage that kind of thing.
But because it was so easy I felt at least a little guilty. To fix that I waited for Cassie at the library after I had finished sitting under one of the beautiful trees blooming a bright purple on campus near Meredith Hall (thanks for the pic, Carbon Copy). I read Mary Oliver's "The Honey Tree" with bees zipping around above me in the buds and Annie Dillard's "Living Like Weasels" trying to remember if I have ever seen a weasel in-person. It was a nice day and I still got lots of writing done later on. Maybe it's the change in the weather, but it made me feel optimistic. About what, though, I can't say.
Two, I was thinking today about holidays. How Valentine's and Mother's Day are supposed to be the product of greeting card companies. From that I puzzled that Earth Day has to be a political holiday (holiday?). No big break-through there, to be sure. However, I get the feeling that lately, because of the furor over the ill-effects of global warming has a lot to do with refugees, and MBQ telling us about how the CIA says the next World War (god forbid) will be fought over water, I was reminded somewhat tangentially of how little I knew about environmental justice as a field. So I went back to the big article that was my introduction, Dorceta Taylor's "American Environmentalism: The Role of Race, Class, and Gender, 1820-1995." It's a great article (and a huge piece of forest if you print it, I might add) and I wish I could post a copy here. (Sigh. Intellectual property laws.) However, I did dig up her CV from her space at the University of Michigan. It includes a great "Selected Publications" list highlighting her work on environmental justice. Hopefully you all can find copies through your own libraries. So much to read, so little time.
So I sound like an ivory tower Garrison Keillor today. What of it?
Happy Earth Day. Go change out a light bulb.