COVID-19 saw to it that this year, Earth Day had to settle for a digital 50th birthday party.
No teach-ins. No rallies. No public celebration of any kind.
Not the norm. But also, as one of the organizers of the first Earth Day reminded us, not the first time in its history that Earth Day hasn't received its due.
In a column for the Seattle Times, Denis Hayes reminded us (or those of us who’ve been around since April 22, 1970) that one week after Earth Day was launched, Nixon escalated the Vietnam War by invading Cambodia. Less than two weeks later, national guardsmen shot and killed four war protestors at Kent State University—and just like that, Earth Day went “from above-the-fold front page news into near-oblivion.”
End of story? Nope.
Earth Day’s organizers forged ahead, sans media attention. They launched a campaign against a “Dirty Dozen” members of Congress who had terrible environmental records—"with a minuscule budget but unbounded energy, and to the utter astonishment of the political establishment,” Hayes wrote, they defeated seven of the 12 incumbents.
Today's lesson from Hayes' story from half a century ago? This:
"COVID-19 robbed us of Earth Day this year. So let’s make Election Day Earth Day."
Wise words for today, as the global pandemic throws into stark relief the perils of allowing unscrupulous corporations to take over our food system, and by extension, our health and the health of our soils and air and waterways.
In coming weeks we'll throw into high gear our campaign to force Congress to address the fatal (literally) flaws in our industrial food and farming system.
Part of that campaign will involve educating consumers about which elected officials, and which candidates, are on the right side of food policy reform. And which aren’t.
Then it will be up to you to decide. And to vote.
We hope you’ll engage. And we hope you’ll support this work.
Please make a generous donation at this time, if you are able. And please stay safe.