My Earth Day

22Apr16

earthToday is Earth Day, and observances are underway around the world and have been for several weeks because coincidentally, April also happens to be Earth Month!

I find it outrageous that in 2016 we are so earth-centric as to focus only on the planet that we happen to inhabit out of the eight (formerly nine) in our solar system and potentially billions in the cosmos.

When is Mars Day celebrated? When is Mercury Month? We even went so far a few years ago as to demote the celestial body on the outermost fringe of our solar system from planetary status.

How Plutophobic of us!

But back to Earth Day. I have a full day of activities scheduled for my own personal celebration of the Earth and all its wonders.

After rising and starting the coffee in my electric drip coffee-maker, I’ll step outside and grab the newspaper. That’s right a newspaper made from trees that grow in the earth.

I’ll then turn the heat up a few degrees. Once the oil burner clicks on, the house will lose its spring morning chill in no time. Oil was very cheap this past winter. I didn’t even have to conserve and I still saved a bundle over previous years.

prime_gas022316I’ll then head out to work in my gas-powered car. Despite a slight recent rise, gas has been cheaper of late than it has been in years, thanks to increased domestic production from innovative technologies like fracking that have driven world crude oil prices down.

Remember when they told us that we couldn’t drill our way to lower oil prices? Apparently we could – and did!

Did I mention that oil comes from the earth?

After work, I’ll go to Stop & Shop to do my weekly grocery shopping, carefully placing my purchases in the convenient plastic bags supplied by the store. Only a few items in each bag so the bags won’t break. Or maybe I’ll use double bags. Can’t be too careful!

I’ll use an eco-friendly shopping cart to wheel my groceries out to my internal combustion vehicle. I’ll then drive home and put the groceries in the electric-powered refrigerator. It’s a shame we don’t use ice-boxes anymore. Electric refrigeration destroyed the natural ice industry whereby ice was cut from ponds and lakes like Quannapowitt and stored in ice houses for sale to homes and businesses.

electric_bulbsAfter cooking dinner on my electric stove, I’ll repair to the living room where my Earth Day celebration will assume a more relaxed pace. I’ll sip a bottle of Poland Spring, turn on the TV and as darkness falls I’ll switch on the electric lights. I prefer incandescent light for reading. I’ve been stockpiling incandescent bulbs because the government wants to ban them. But I figure if it was good enough for Thomas Edison, it’s good enough for me!

According to the United States Energy information Administration, two-thirds of US electricity is generated by fossil fuels – electricity that lights homes, businesses, schools, hospitals and research facilities. It has been key to prolonging and improving human life immeasurably in so many ways. Did I mention that fossil fuels come from the earth? Another reason to celebrate Earth Day!

fireplaceTo add atmosphere to my Earth Day observance, I’ll build a roaring fire in the fireplace before I curl up on the couch for one of my favorite Earth Day traditions: re-reading The Unicorn’s Secret, by Steven Levy. It’s the story of Ira Einhorn, one of the founders of Earth Day and the master of ceremonies at the very first Earth Day celebration in Philadelphia in 1970.

In 1977, Einhorn murdered his girlfriend Holly Maddux and composted her body in a trunk inside a locked closet in his apartment for 18 months. After he was arrested and charged with Holly’s murder, Einhorn fled to Europe where he hid for 23 years before the US finally brought him back in 2001 and a jury convicted him in 2002.

He’s now 76 years old and in prison where he still claims that Holly Maddux was murdered by CIA agents who attempted to frame him for the crime due to his “investigations” on the Cold War and “psychotronics.” He still has loyal apologists who actually believe he’s innocent.

Revisionist environmental historians have whitewashed Einhorn’s name from the history of Earth Day for obvious reasons, but it remains a fascinating true-crime story about a man who still believes that he’s smarter than everyone else.

As I drift off to sleep after my Earth Day observance, I’ll recount a few of the predictions made during the first Earth Day celebration in 1970.

  • Life Magazine predicted, “By 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half.”
  • Paul Ehrlich, author of The Population Bomb, predicted that between 1980 and 1989, 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would starve to death.
  • Peter Gunter, a professor at North Texas State University, stated, “By the year 2000, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”
  • Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, predicted that in 25 years (1995), somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.”
  • Ecologist Kenneth Watt stated, “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”
  • Watt also stated, “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil.”

I will sleep soundly knowing that today’s hysterical climate predictions are about as likely to come true 50 years hence as those that were made 46 years ago.

Happy Earth Day!

[This column originally appeared in the April 21, 2016 Wakefield Daily Item.]

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