Some of us were “earthers” from way back but it was so much a way of life for us, a natural attitude, that it became integral to our lives and relatives or friends weren’t much interested in hearing about it. We ate our whole grains quietly in the back of the bus so as not to gather unwanted attention and avoid the inevitable annoying questions about why our lunch was so funny-looking.
I was a young teen when the first Earth Day hit, but even way back then, some of us went out of our way to find recycled paper (which always looked brown), find great vegan food, eat organic or raw, stuff like that. I found a naturopathic doctor when I was 17, after asking some questions in a local health food store. Eating organic was seen as eccentric and no one knew what a naturopathic doctor was either. I remember defending my organic food passion to my boss in 1979, who said (as he ate his hamburger) …”it’s all polluted, you’re fooling yourself, it doesn’t matter”. I didn’t like being the only soy eating girl in the room, and I really did feel alone back then. Everyone just thought I was nuts and I accepted it. But even though they laughed, I didn’t stop eating my soyburgers.
No one makes fun of me now, because, after all, I was right. Tofu is on diner menus and health food stores are hip. I’m really happy to see many of my twenty and thirty-something friends “discover” vegetarianism, talk about the dangers of white flour and white sugar, and praise the benefits of naturopathy, raw foods, juicing, alternative medicine, etc. etc. They get all passionate about it, and righteous, sometimes strangely dogmatic too. I don’t have the heart to tell them this is really old news to many of us quiet revolutionaries who basically grew up on the stuff. I’m thrilled that their bodies, their lives (and possibly our planet) will benefit from this new consciousness they’ve found because the quicker we move away from ham sandwiches and coca cola, the better. (Do Americans still eat this stuff? Did it have to take all these years for people to connect their health to the stuff they put in their mouths every day ?) I guess so.
Earth Day is all about the connections between all of IT and all of us. Now that it’s become hip to care if the packaging is reusable, and school kids are being taught to recycle, I have lived long enough to get to the first plateau you might say, and it does feel much better to have company when I’m eating my escarole. Since I have the added pleasure of having Earth Day as my birthday, I feel like the universe was always winking at me in approval, only I didn’t know it until now. And who cares if some beedie- eyed bald man is making fun of your lunch when the Great Mother herself is giving you the go-ahead ?
Earth Day is a little bit goofy though, if you think about it. Every day is Earth Day. After all, where would we be without her ? Finally, more of us are really thinking about it and that’s really something to celebrate.