Random acts of greenness



(Come friend Aunt Ruthie on Facebook and let’s hang out.)

Southside Park

Sixth And T Streets
Sacramento, CA 95818

(916) 808-5200

Earth Day cometh but once a year—including Southside Park in Sacramento this April 23—but is it just Auntie Ruth, or has the whole Earth Day thing gone a little quaint, a little too ’70s, a little too passé for its own good?

Climate-change deniers aside—sit down to your tea parties and shut up—hasn’t the basic thrust of Earth Day been achieved?

Go back to 1970, when a senator from Wisconsin saw the awful oil spill off the Santa Barbara coast. Gaylord Nelson teamed with California Republican Congressman Pete McCloskey and the first Earth Day was born as a teach-in, an educational event. Rachel Carson’s landmark book Silent Spring wasn’t yet 10 years old. Smoke stacks spewing black gunk barely solicited a swivel of the head. And if we didn’t have SUVs, we had big ol’ sedans with V8 engines.

Things are better, things are worse. We know better now: Reduce, reuse, recycle, repeat. Environmental Protection Agency this and Prius that. And yet now we know the tragic impact of climate change and that its early stages are probably irreversible. Those sorrows felt at the first sighting of an oil-soaked bird on TV have deepened beyond all initial comprehension. Earth Day feels more like Stop Putting Your Little Brother in the Abandoned Refrigerator Day, or Don’t Lay Your Weary Head Down on the Red-Hot Stove Top Day. Really, it’s more like International D’oh! Day.

Auntie Ruth is no Simpsonian scholar, but she’d lay odds that Homer coined this eco-manifesto long before his first nuclear power plant meltdown. Is every day Earth Day, as was oft-asserted back in the ’90s? D’oh! Should we recycle? D’oh! Carpool? D’oh! Rant on, rant on; you get the point.

It’s International D’oh! Day for a planet that took its eye off the ball one century too many.

There’s not a day that Auntie Ruth isn’t thankful; still she celebrates Thanksgiving. Being born is a daily miracle; still, she’s a sucker for a good birthday bash. And she supposes that Earth Day may still have a similar purpose, one perched above the sorrows and fears of current predictions. But what else?

Start with A Billion Acts of Green (http://act.earthday.org), a forum in which to make a promise, to share a pledge. To stay focused on the do after you’re done with d’oh (!).