Don Torino’s Life in the Meadowlands: Earth Day Is Still a Great Idea!

I can remember sitting in church as a child on Easter morning. It was a packed house as I guess every Easter is. We were all shoulder-to-shoulder and I had to squeeze my legs together so that everyone would fit in the long, hard, wooden pews.

I distinctly can recall Father O’Neill making his grand entrance with all of his beautiful Easter vestments looking out at his full house and all those smiling holiday faces. He told everyone how it filled his heart with joy to see so many people in church that spring morning. However, as the church organ played many of those faces lost their Easter grins when he said, “I HOPE TO SEE ALL OFYOU HERE EVERY SUNDAY JUST LIKE THIS.”

So in Memory of Father O’Neill, I hope after all the celebrating, events and feeling good about ourselves this Earth Day that we can all step up and do the right thing to protect our environment every day of the year, especially right here in our own communities.

Like all environmental groups around Earth Day, we become the most popular people in town. We are wanted everywhere and anywhere. It seems every town has an Earth Day fair, an Earth Day clean up, an Earth Day tree planting. You name it and you will find something happening on and around April 22.

Now don’t get me wrong. All these events are wonderful and help bring much needed awareness to our threatened environment. But at times I do detect the more than occasional hypocrisy at some of the town run, pat ourselves on the back love our environment today and let’s forget about it tomorrow Earth day celebrations .

 It amazes me how on one hand  a town is cutting down trees, destroying wildlife habitat by developing every inch of any natural area that might be left, and just down the road the powers that be are shaking hands, posing with solar panels in the background, and professing to be friends of the earth at the local Earth Day Fest. It is a magician’s sleight of hand if there ever was one. Don’t look over there! Nothing up my sleeve.

 Then as April 23 rolls around its back to the pesticides, insecticides, cutting trees, planting invasive plants, caring for a vast wasteland of green lawns and ignoring that there is even such a thing as climate change. Earth Day was and is a great concept. We should try it more often.

 Moreover, to add insult to injury it seems when we were not watching the store corporate America hijacked Earth Day. As I am writing this article, I am being bombarded with emails that say buy this and buy that earth friendly item and you will save the earth! Enough! The founders of Earth Day are turning over in their graves and the ones that are still alive are ready to jump in with them.

So this April 22 let’s take Earth Day back and remember how it started, by regular people like you and me. We should be standing up for the environment any way we can and let it start in your own community. Attend to all your local events and talk it up to everyone on how we should protect wildlife habitat not only in the South American rainforest but also in our own towns, and before the bulldozers start to roll.

Let us plant native plants in our yards and in your community. Put up some birdhouses, be more tolerant of backyard wildlife, and give groundhogs and squirrels a break!  Take a walk at a local nature center and do what you can all year long. We know we can talk the talk. Now let’s all walk the walk and together help make our environment a better place for future generations!

See you in the Meadowlands!


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