Earth Day 2020

One simple-minded Earth Day action is “plant a tree.”

Trees cut erosion, moderate the climate, reduce carbon dioxide, provide shade and shelter, yield fruit, and provide timber and… toilet paper. To plant a tree is to sustain the future.

We won’t plant a tree this year, though. We’ll just water Junior Tree and a couple three of the other 26 in our xeric 65×125 foot yard. Yes, and, later that very same day: toilet paper.

I found two versions of history. Wikipedia suggests that in 1969, activist John McConnell conceived “a day to honor the Earth and the concept of peace.” In 1970, UN Secretary General U Thant dedicated the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere to that purpose.

The Earth Day website says that, in 1969, Senator Gaylord Nelson, in reaction to a massive oil spill, conceived a “national teach-in on the environment” to “force environmental protection onto the national political agenda.” “April 22, falling between Spring Break and Final Exams” was dedicated to that purpose.

Now we are engaged in a great pandemic, testing whether that day, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.

Folks are under seige by a little critter so small about 851 of them would fit across a hair. As folks hunker down, cuts in car engine use, power plant needs, and industrial production yield lower carbon emissions and global heating. The whole Earth is watching.

Agriculture could get a boost. So could trees. Can we remember the Earth through this onslaught, or will we keep ravaging trees, one each for 200 rolls of toilet paper?

The words “tree” and “true” share the same Indo-European root, meaning solid and steadfast.

I hope the Earth stays true to trees.