Thursday, February 17, 2011

First Earth Day

I realize it's nowhere near the first Earth Day...but everyday should be Earth day!
Well one thing my language professor said is true, if you research something you like, it doesn't feel like work. These past two weeks our class has been working on writing our research papers on an event that happened in the 1960s and 1970s. She gave us a list of events to choose from, so as I was scanning the list I was getting a little worried until I got to the last item on the list...First Earth Day. Bingo!
Being the proud environmentalist that I am, I'm ashamed to say...I know absolutely nothing about the first Earth Day. So I was excited to say the least to find out about it and get graded on it!
Let me briefly sum up what happened. A Senator from Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson, had been working for several years to get environmental issues recognized on the political agenda, however much more pressing matters such as the Vietnam War were all that politicians cared about. However the people at the time were largely against the war, practically every other day the headline in the newspaper was about a college campus that had an anti-war teach-in. That is where Nelson got the idea for a nationwide environmental teach-in event. After a lot of press, some donations, and spreading the word, Earth Day was born! April 22, 1970. The date was chosen to fit in with school schedules, it had nothing to do with it being Vladimir Lenin's birthday contrary to rumor.
So what did they do on the first Earth Day? Crazy things. They beat cars with sledge hammers, buried cars, blocked cars from coming onto campuses, rode horses on the freeway. They dumped oil in front of fountains at major oil companies. They wore gas masks. They rallied, marched, protested, signed petitions, wrote letters to politicians. They did some not so crazy things too, they planted trees, picked up trash, cleaned rivers, and recycled aluminum cans. They listened to speeches and music. "They" all 20 million of them from around the nation celebrated the environment and tried to call it to the attention of politicians. And they succeeded in the following decade around 33 Environmental Initiatives were passed! 
So they say history repeats itself right? That fashion cycles through every 40 years? Well if I did the math right, that means we should have the fashion of the 1970s, bell bottoms, miniskirts, flowers. And oddly enough I kind of feel like we're repeating the history of the 70's again. The Vietnam War...The War in Afghanistan. I think the majority of America is trying to get the environment to be  the focus in politics again. I mean isn't that what Obama's "change" is all about?
So if 40 years ago they were able to organize the first Earth Day and get 20 million people nationwide to participate...without even having the internet,  twitter,  email, or cell phones, then why haven't we in this technological age been trying to make bigger strides to help our environment?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Let's be honest. I've never been a writer. I'm all about the numbers, my mind works mathematically. That's just how I'm programmed, I now see this demonstrated in my life daily. If I don't have my wrist watch I feel lost. No day is complete if I don't find myself reaching for a calculator to determine the answer to something not related to school. For example the other day I was wondering if I wanted to make 1,000 paper cranes in a month how many would I have to make in a day, but what if I get my roommate involved? How long does it take me to make one crane on average?... so when I'm done I'll have devoted how many hours to making these paper cranes? Seriously? Let's just say that plan is now on hold.

Getting back to the point of why I've never been a writer, I find it difficult and uncomfortable to deal with feelings. I can never seem to summon the perfect word to describe my mood.
When someone asks me "How are you?" (as they do countless time in a day) my mathematical mind immediately begins churning, I want to give them that one right answer, but this answer also has to be true, but also interesting, and quick because I'm probably passing this person on my way to class or something. My brain is overwhelmed...I can't find the answer. So what do I tell them? "Fine." Sometimes I hate this question so much I just fire it right back at them. "How are you?" Most of the time they hardly realize I didn't answer, because let's face it, their mind had already expected me to utter fine (or a similar response). I just found this really cool fact and it involves numbers, go figure!
"The average person tells 4 lies a day, or 1460 a year, a total of 87,600 by the age of 60.
And the most common lie is: I'm fine."
That rant was just to prove how difficult it is for me to answer even the simplest question regarding feelings. So I guess it is safe to say I had this perception in my mind of feelings and writing being connected....which I'd venture to say most people would agree is true.
Recently I've come to realize the power and effect words can have, and I've been intrigued to explore this area. I'm not as strong as I lead myself to believe. I have feelings and I'm tired of keeping them in my head, and writing seems to be a pretty organized and yet unstructured way to get them out. It's more one of those things you just have to write out, even if no one ever sees it. As odd as it sounds to me, I'm getting to know myself better through this process.