Today, 4/22/09, is Earth Day. That's when we all go around pretending we're concerned about the effects of civilization on the planet, and some people actually are.
In the pre-internet days, it wasn't as easy to put together lesson plans, have international discussions about greenhouse gases, the ozone layer, the spotted owl, the whales and organic farming and gardening. What started out essentially as an extension of the Hippie movement has become an international institution that has worked toward and often succeeded at cleaning up toxic rivers, preserving endangered species and in general increased awareness of the external dangers that face everyone.
But we need an internal Earth Day as badly as the "regular" one. We need to clean up the mental environment. Self pollution?
You can spot a litterbug throwing a gum wrapper on the street. You can see what an oil spill does to a body of water. But are you still able to see your own thinking going haywire? It's not easy. Can you see the clouding and crowding in your mind -- stuff that you take in and process and which then sends you to taxation tea parties or blinds you to the benefits of union membership or comes before the time you pull the lever and vote for some imbecile or crook or good old boy?
Do you take right wing radio bloviators seriously?
It's easy to reject the notion that sugar-coated Frosted Flakes are "health" food.
It's not so easy to reject the notion that the sugar-coated whims and wishes are healthy thoughts.
We're all depositing gum wrappers in our mental streets. In this case the litterbugs, the nuclear waste dumpers, the greenhouse gasbags and the exhausters of natural resources are... all of us.
Getting rid of stupid, harmful, absurd, polluted mind activities isn't easy. First, one has to recognize them for what they are. Then comes the hard part: actually admitting to ourselves we may be wrong -- or to sugar coat it -- misguided.
So, go hug a trout, this earth day. But please keep this in mind as well.
We have to start picking up our own mental messes.
--The President wants us all to volunteer for "national service." Peace Corps, anyone? Or is this the stalking horse for a national draft.
--The Somali pirate has been declared an adult. Fine. Now, let's send a message to Somalia. That pirate "Business Model" is a non-starter.
--Woe to us NY Islander fans. On the other hand, there is an upside to the dismal record. Failing to win a Stanley Cup for all these years gives us a league-wide perspective, forign to those with a "real" team in the running, and perspective is everything.
--American Idol losers are comp;aiing the disc jockeys are not playing their songs on the radio. They're missing a point: The songs aren't worth hearing in many cases.
I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own but you're welcome to them.®