Advertise in Print | Subscriptions
Published April 21, 2009, 12:00 AM

Our view: Be an ‘Earth warrior,’ and not just on Earth Day

“There are no passengers on spaceship Earth. … We are all crew,” Canadian scholar Marshall McLuhan said in 1964. And on no other day do his words ring truer than tomorrow, Earth Day, the moment set aside to reflect on green successes and to focus on environmental initiatives.

“There are no passengers on spaceship Earth. … We are all crew,” Canadian scholar Marshall McLuhan said in 1964. And on no other day do his words ring truer than tomorrow, Earth Day, the moment set aside to reflect on green successes and to focus on environmental initiatives.

In Duluth and across the Northland, the “moment” stretches on for more than a week, with an Earth fest on the Iron Range, a 6K walk for clean water, marsh monitoring, displays of art, a banquet for hunger and more. A full list of activities is posted at duluthnews

tribune.com.

Duluth’s first commemoration of Earth Day took place 39 years ago. About 175 college students gathered in Leif Erikson Park before sunrise to sing songs, share readings and reflect on the relationship between humankind and the environment.

An estimated 20 million Americans launched Earth Day in 1970 at a time when American cities were being choked by smog, cars were burning leaded gasoline, the quality of municipal drinking water wasn’t even regulated and polluted rivers were catching fire.

Improvements have been noticeable since: National air quality, auto emission and anti-pollution standards were set in 1970. Congress restricted the use of lead-based paint in residences and on cribs and toys in 1971, a no-brainer

nowadays. A year after that, DDT, a cancer-causing pesticide, was banned. Also in the 1970s, Congress passed the Clean Water Act to limit sewage and other pollutants in rivers, lakes and streams. And in the 1980s, Congress approved Superfund legislation to clean up hazardous sites and to hold polluters responsible, among other improvements.

The future of the planet is still precarious. As the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change noted in a pair of reports last year, human influence on climate change is real, destructive and must be reversed.

To help, we all could be — as musician and environmental activist Darryl Cherney declared himself in the April 1990 issue of Smithsonian magazine — “not an environmentalist,” but “an Earth warrior.”

It’s the sort of label that could be worn more often than just one day a year.

Tags: