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An eco-nerd reflects on Earth Day
by Heidi Kyser | posted April 22, 2014
Earth Day in Clark County started with a warning from the Department of Air Quality: 25-35 mps winds are stirring up dust and ozone, making time outdoors a bad idea for “sensitive groups.” It fits with my mood this April 22.
Scanning the press releases I’ve received about Earth Day events, I grow as ill-humored as the weather. Most encourage some type of consumerism, and a couple blatantly capitalize on the holiday with no apparent environmental benefit at all.
If you really must shop, it’s obviously best to use the Clean Energy Project’s “Buy Green List,” released today with 50 purveyors of coffee, insurance, antiques and other stuff by eco-friendly businesses. Or, you could go to Town Square this weekend and learn how to replace disposable products with reusable ones.
Some events – such as the University Forum Lecture this evening at UNLV, “Assuming the Ecosexual Position: Making the Environmental Movement More Sexy, Fun and Diverse” — are at least educational. And a BOGO ticket promotion at the Monorail could entice some Strip visitors to park their cars and try the lower-carbon option of public transportation.
But that’s as far outside our comfort zone as we’re expected to go, apparently. Few of the week’s events and promotions require a truly meaningful effort on the part of participants. And none captures the essence of the original 1970 manifestation, for which millions of Americans, of all political stripes, took to the streets to raise awareness of pollution.
That’s the kind of agitation I’d expect in reaction to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s March 31 report bearing this cheery news: “The world, in many cases, is ill-prepared for risks from a changing climate… There are opportunities to respond to such risks, though the risks will be difficult to manage with high levels of warming.” Simply replacing your light bulbs, in other words, isn’t going to do the trick.
And we’re capable of much more, as was proven recently in Southern Nevada. For Earth Day 2012, the Moapa Band of Paiutes led a group of Native Americans in a three-day Cultural Healing Walk to protest coal pollution in their community. Just a couple weeks earlier, NV Energy had announced plans to begin closing its coal-fired plants in favor of renewable energy. That’s what I call an Earth Day!
But there’s plenty more work to be done; it’s obvious from the fact that our malls still feel they have to teach shoppers the difference between disposable and reusable products. I’m afraid anyone who hasn’t figured that out yet is a long way from joining the green revolution that today was intended to be.
Pick up your Desert Companion today at one of these Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf or Jamba Juice locations.
Also available at Clark County and Henderson libraries.