April 22, 2013
Advice for Earth Day – Stay Home
Each year, the Central Park Conservancy in New York City holds an Earth Day event; this year they held the celebrations a little early on this past Saturday. If it was like previous years, the park probably paid the price for people “celebrating Earth Day.”
In New York City, the park would encourage people to come out and learn about what they could do to help save the planet. This meant that many people who don’t live near Central Park, as this writer was fortunate enough to have been able to do for 17 years, would drive into the city, crowd into the park, buy food from vendors, and create a lot of garbage.
Isn’t Earth Day supposed to be about doing something good?
Over the years I’ve seen similar “celebrations” in other parts of the country. There is plenty of good that can be done, but is “celebrating” really one of those things?
In the case of New York City and Central Park, maybe staying home is the best option. One year I personally witnessed a group of cyclists who traveled several hundred miles to be there. For the record, I’m a pretty passionate cyclists as well, and will walk or ride my bike to the grocery store more than I’ll ever drive; but I don’t see the point in what riding your bike to a celebration has to do with Earth Day.
The riders, who then used bike powered generators to supply electricity for a band that played music, may have been a little fitter from it. Maybe the efforts to use pedal power instead of electricity from the grid to power the amps saved something, but these efforts were met by thunderous applause and massive cheering.
But did they do anything for the planet?
The worst part was that the message repeated that Earth Day was, “if you live in the city don’t drive to work, don’t take the subway, don’t take the bus, walk.”
That might sound reasonable, but consider that the subway and buses run whether people are on them or not. Sure less riders might make the city consider pulling some buses from service, but what happens the days when it rains? Aren’t some people left standing wait for the next bus to come?
Doesn’t pulling service on the subway mean that some people who live further away (and in Manhattan alone you could live up to 12 miles from work in theory) have less options for getting to work?
As noted, I’ll walk to the grocery store, and I’ve been known to go for a run to the bank to deposit a single $100 check. In the winter months, when driving is necessary, I’ll let a few freelance checks pile up before driving to the bank and when I do I’ll take the time to stop at the grocery store across the street. I don’t look for cheers or applause from these efforts.
On Earth Day, I’ll probably spend some time (weather permitting) working on my yard. I don’t live in the big city these days and having a house with a yard takes some work.
We’re told that we should think global and act local, and on Earth Day maybe the way to save the planet is to stay home and do some yard work and spring clean up instead of cheering for hollow gestures.
Image Credit: Photos.com