Pat your back

Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.

Did you make it down to Idlewild Park on Sunday for Earth Day? You may have even heard Mr. Bob Dylan’s immortal words being sung by one of the many people carrying around musical instruments.

Despite the threatening rain, people gathered to support all kinds of agendas. Another quote leaped to mind: “Those tree-hugging, Birkenstock-wearing, hippie, tie-dyed liberals.” But you know what? There were a few tree-hugging, Birkenstock-wearing, hippie, tie-dyed conservatives down there, expressing their concern for the world and their connection with humans, animals, flora and minerals on this Big Blue Marble.

Lots of different spiritualities down there, too. Rajan Zed, director of interfaith relations of Hindu Temple of Northern Nevada prayed to the Goddess Earth from “Prithvi Sukta.” It wouldn’t be hard to imagine that a Wiccan, which according to the federal government is now an acceptable religion to display on the tombstones of people who cared enough about this planet and this country to give their lives in time of war (see “Rest at last,” page 11), was down there at the river. After all, the Wiccans could be considered the original Earth Day-ers. But there were certainly people who appeared to have come directly over from Sunday services at the place of worship of their choice.

This year, didn’t you feel a greater union with the other participants? And no, it wasn’t like some kind of Summer of Love hippie love-in (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but didn’t you feel a greater sense of urgency and mission? And perhaps in the face of the ecological darkness and existential ennui that we Americans have been bludgeoned with for the past six years, didn’t there seem a palpable sense of purpose this year at Earth Day?

Maybe you were too busy looking for practical methods to help save the planet—types of recycling or information about composting or affordable solar technology—to notice that there were a lot of like-minded people around you.

But you can take our word for it. Even though the roar was a whisper, there were a lot of people gathered down at Idlewild Park on that gray Sunday demanding change.

And the times they are a-changin'.