I have a couple of calendars in my office that have something about “Earth Day” scribbled on the square dated April 22, 2015. I have taken a cynical view of “Earth Day” in the past, have reflected that in my blog, and do not feel any differently today. Let me tell you why. . . .
Earlier this week I stopped at a stop-light and watched the pig in the car in front of me squash out his cigarette and then toss it out the window. Look out your vehicle window and down along the curb or median the next time you are sitting at a stop-light. You will be disappointed at the number of cigarette butts laying there. Where do you suppose all of that trash ends up?
A couple of springs back, my family and I came around the corner in one of our Federal Wildlife Refuges just in time to watch the driver of a SUV pull into a parking area and toss out two bags full of trash. I shocked my family when I pulled in behind him, rolled down my window and hollered at him to go pick up his trash. I was steamed!
Take a drive around the countryside in much of the state right now and notice the number of fence rows, waterways and timber that is being bulldozed. “Tree Planter State”? Not from what I see, “Tree Ripper State” would be more appropriate.
Do you suppose those folks celebrate “Earth Day” once a year on the designated day, and then forget about it the rest of the time? Or do they need to learn a “land ethic” that applies year-around? Do we, do I, need to learn a “land ethic” that applies 365 days a year?
How can we learn our own land ethic? What actions can we take not just today, but everyday? How can I live that example?
I think I know of a good place to start. . . go fishing!
Fishing, I should have explained, teaches us to perform small acts with care. It humbles us. It enriches our friendships. It cultivates reverence for wild things and beautiful places. It reminds us that time needs occasionally to be squandered. It offers relief from overdue bills and endless chores and appalling world events. It makes us participants in nature instead of spectators, a crucial distinction because participants tend to become passionate and protective and spectators tend to become indifferent.
The River Home: An Angler’s Explorations, Jerry Dennis, 1998
Or if you would rather, go hunting, the turkeys are gobbling!
I know, I know, there are plenty of slobs and pigs among the ranks of outdoors-folks too. I am ashamed to admit that. But I cannot help but believe that a greater appreciation and respect for our land, air, water, fish & wildlife resources can be learned with a fishing pole or shotgun in hand, than by recognizing one day a year as “earth day”. Fishing and hunting would be time better spent.