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How is Earth Day Like Mother’s Day?

How is Earth Day like Mother’s Day? People think they can celebrate, express their gratitude and give the Earth or their mother/s a rest for one day, then go back to neglecting and trampling on them the next day–and for the rest of the year.

That’s the nature of holidays, though: a quick acknowledgment, which is supposed to be better than none. It’s a gesture.

The cheeky "What Killed Earth Day? Too Much Fuss and No Bother," by Hank Stuever in today’s Washington Post ends with:

Finally, Earth Day died the minute they canceled that Earth Day concert here on Sunday. Because of rain. Because of lightning.

That sort of wussiness won’t save the planet. Earth Day died because, it turns out, saving the Earth is going to be very complicated. It is going to require attention spans, intelligence, sacrifice and lawyers and more than one day a year. To save the Earth, Earth Day had to go.

Earth Day is survived by its longtime companion, Mother Nature.

Respecting the Earth and its inhabitants isn’t achieved by shifting consumption from one provider of goods to another, although when you need to replace something, shifting to a "greener" (as opposed to more greenwashed ) product is certainly desirable. (Check out Freecycle, where you might be able to get what you want, free of charge, from someone who wants to give it away.) It’s not accomplished through buying a different kind of meat or egg.  If you’re serious about ending the exploitation of the Earth, you’ll buy only things–and that includes food–that you need. Eating to live rather than living to eat doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy your food and look forward to each meal. To me, it means your food decisions are based on what your body needs to function optimally. It also means that if there’s something you crave, such as an animal product, you make the decision for others–a decision that is far more important for them–that you are going to refrain from killing them for your meals. Eating to live can include eating in such a way that allows others to live.

People want to hear that they can honor the Earth for a day, only to return to their destructive practices the following day. People want to hear that they can care about animals and not want to harm them, but still eat their flesh, secretions and excretions. But the jig is up, and we know that that’s impossible.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Mike Grieco #

    More nonhumans are killed today by the animal agri-business than ever before!

    "Earth Day died" because of our "food" choices. Will we ever learn!

    April 22, 2009
  2. Mary… you could have been the butterfly resting on a leaf right outside my open window to hear this conversation I had just the other day. A friend, who in all sincerity believes he's a peaceful and just man, told/asked me point blank: "Well, I have nothing against you being vegan or going to your animal rights meetings or anything like that… But why do you have to talk to other people about it? Why can't you just talk amongst yourselves about animal issues… and write your congressman (or something) about it?"

    In other words, "everything you do and say, reminds me that I am false in what I say… false in what I say I think, false in what I say I believe… Can't you just speak of these (truths) within your "group" and let me eat my chickens in bliss?". And in that moment I was certain… he knew the jig was up! In a frightening realization I knew too… that if he could, he would (by force) – find a way to silence the message.

    "Eating to live"… yes, this is a fine practice – I just wish it weren't met with such hostility. 🙁

    April 22, 2009

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