Earth Day – Then and Now

We have been cleaning out our basement, not a fun thing. Especially when one of you is a hoarder (that would be me) and the other is – what’s the opposite of hoarder – a declutterer? (that would be my husband.) I am proud of myself, however, I am managing to send many of my “precious” items to the give away, sell or trash piles. My “keep” pile is much smaller.

Among the many items I have uncovered/discovered in the basement, were my high school scrapbooks  (My collecting habits run deep.) I grew up in California and graduated from San Gabriel Mission High School in 1972 (a Catholic School. Read “About Me”) . I appropriately refer to these materials as “vintage-collectibles.”

Anyway, in my scrapbook from my sophomore year (yes, there is one – or more – for each year including one for my first year of college. Step 1: I admit I have a problem!), I found my page for Earth Day 1970! Proof…I was on the cutting edge of environmental awareness. I celebrated the very first Earth Day 40 years ago. My notes say that we prepared these beautiful (now environmentally wasteful) “tallies” to hand out to everyone:

We also handed out “Stop Smog” bumper stickers

and brochures from “The People’s Lobby” with this marvelous Henry Gibson (z’l) quote on the cover:

In addition, we sang, “This Land is Your Land” at a school assembly at which I note, “I was a Pollution” (I have absolutely no clue, nor any memory, of what that means.) I grew up in the San Gabriel Valley. I distinctly remember never being able to see the San Gabriel Mountains during my youthful summers as smog would block the view. Today, thankfully, that has changed, but perhaps my “role” was a tribute to that then menacing presence.

Earth Day has changed as well, what started as a simple grass roots call for individuals to “put your money where your lungs are,” has turned into a global cry to “Save Our Planet!” On that day 40 years ago, a group of Mission High School students planted some small trees across the street on what was then the school’s track. I recently saw a picture of those trees – they are huge! It reminded me, in a very real way, of the story of Honi and the Carob trees. It also reminded me that while so much has changed in me and around me over these past 40 years – FORTY YEARS! – the core values I learned growing up have evolved, but not changed so very much. Looking back, I have so very much to be thankful for. I hope my children feel the same 40 years from now.

Happy reading,

Kathy B.

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