In just a few weeks we will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day and in the words of the classic Joni Mitchell song we seemed to not know what we had till it was gone, or in this case at least denied access.
As Covid-19 devastated our communities and their usual destinations were forced to close, more and more people were drawn to our local nature areas and open spaces. Whether it was out of nowhere else to go or a kind of primal urge to turn back to nature, individuals and families alike turned out in big numbers at our local, county and State Parks.
Sadly, that desire to return to the natural world may have been its undoing as officials began closing all those special places that many of us have grown to love over the years and maybe, more importantly, more had just now discovered and quickly found a passion for places they never knew were even there. As a close friend expressed to me, just when we needed nature the most it closed up.
On this very special anniversary on which we will celebrate victories like the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act we will also understandably be denied access to the places that are the results of those victories, the places we cherish and revel in.
Sadly and perhaps ironically part of the reason is human kind may have started the outbreak is by the crimes we still commit against nature like in this case the ghastly and inhuman way animals are sold and marketed. And before you say it didn’t start here, I don’t know anyone who thinks our commercial corporate farms and slaughterhouses although better are not going to win any humane awards, at least in my book .
As the special day approaches, separated from the places and in some cases the people we love, we should never forget this Earth Day, as it was a time we faced human devastation, sacrifice and heroism never seen in this generation. But perhaps we also have come to realize how important and how much we crave the wild places in our State and communities. I hope we can and will recall that we needed meadows not malls, running streams and trees not an amusement park, wildlife not warehouses.
This no doubt will be saddest and most difficult Earth Day of all but this also could be the time in our history when Earth Day has a new beginning and a new special meaning not for just a few but for all of us as we join together and realize our love for the environment and our love for each other is inseparable, and if we allow it to exist and flourish, nature will bring joy to our hearts and heal our souls, something we could all use right now
Stay well, see you in our Meadowlands