Celebrating Earth Day 2013


Today is Earth Day.

The idea of celebrating the Earth Day started on 9/20/1969 when Gaylord Nelson, a Democratic senator from Wisconsin, gave a publicized speech in Seattle in which he remarked, “I am convinced that the same concern the youth of this nation took in changing this nation’s priorities on the war in Vietnam and on civil rights can be shown for the problem of the environment. That is why I plan to see to it that a national teach-in is held.” Nelson had been pushing environmental issues for some years.

On 4/22/1970, the teach-in was called Earth Day. Earth Day had won many victories: it led to the Clean Air Act of 1970, the Clean Water Act of 1972, and the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and to the creation, just eight months after the event, of the Environmental Protection Agency.

For more information on this, read Adam Rome’s “The Genius of Earth Day: How a 1970 Teach-in Unexpectedly Made the First Green Generation” (Hill & Wang).

Celebrating Earth Day today and everyday.



April 22 in Observance of Earth Day


Yes, I do have a dirt green shirt on to observe the day. I used to think it originated in Europe as America has been anything but earth-lover, demonstrated by its rejection of global anti-pollution efforts. As it turned out Earth Day was founded by Washington state Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970.

Hence, April 22, 1970, Earth Day saw the beginning of American
modern environmental movement, aiming at achieving a healthy and sustainable environment. This movement, if anything, is like the famous Ralph Nader, too feeble to have its voice heard.

Here comes the fun part of the day. Today a New Disney film ‘Earth’ opens as the celebration of the Earth Day. It is a fun-filled children-oriented documentary film about various animal species across the planet. The movie reminds me of Bambi, Lion King, all phases of a life’s cycle all living beings going through, so familiar to all of us.

How wonderful the world would be if everybody observes this Earth Day by doing the right your-know-what. For me, back to work in the office and tender my plants with tender loving care.



Snow Shoveling–Pollution, Waste, American Culture


Yesterday morning, a bright sun greeted me as I took the shovel heading for the 6-inch snow. A deep breath gave me such a good feeling, knowing the air was just cleaned by the snow. As my eyes were fixed on the driveway and I was preoccupied with the snow, a loud noise jolted me up, followed by a strong gas smell invaded my nostrils. It was from the gas-fed snow-shoveling machine that our neighbor used. Imagine how upset I felt when the air was polluted and all the waste thus incurred. Imagine the impact on the air in general if every family uses gas-fed machines. Mother Earth must be really mad!

It forever puzzles me why a 6-foot muscular male uses a machine instead of his muscle for the snow on the driveway. Not just one, three of them just in our small neighborhood! This is just a glint into the wasteful nature of American culture.

I felt strongly about going to those people, telling them how good it would be to the environment and to their own health, a nice boost to their arm muscle, if they could use shovel instead of the gas-consuming machine. But I know it is too un-American to be so frank. Do I have to write all this? Am I offending my readers for being so offensive? You can see I am confused again.

All I could do is to tell my children — do not do in Rome as Romans do, when we wish the Romans could change their way. Another daylight dream!



Environmentally Unsustainable Western-Style Development


My son told me last weekend of certain China Development projects at MIT that he planned to enter. To be sure, while US is wallowed miserably in mountains of national debts, China is in the position to open her fat checkbook to lend and spend. But I always have doubt about the sustainability of this development. It bothers me each time I learn of development in China.

I read from Auto Observer news last year that China had surpassed Japan in 2006 as the world’s second largest car market, chasing the United States, with sales of 7.2 million units. China was then the third largest vehicle producer, after Japan and the United States. Three years ago, auto ownership in China was 44 for every 1,000 people, while the United States had 750 vehicles for every 1,000 people. This year, China is going to lead the market.

While it is not fair to tell China not to follow the beaten path preceded by developed countries, it is both environmentally unsustainable and catastrophic in the long run if China followed this path to the letter. Imagine what China would do in order to meet the huge craving for and the frenzied search for the limited world fossil fuel reserve? Imagine what the sky would look like if millions of cars were polluting under it?

When I first came to the States, I thought it a huge waste to drive to the fitness center and ride a stationary bike there in order to shed extra pounds. Why didn’t people use their muscle by riding the bike like the Chinese people? That was back in 1984. Riding a bike is like killing many birds with one stone — losing weight, transporting you to wherever you need, gas saving, without polluting the air. I wish Americans could do the same. Now a quarter of a century later, the opposite came true. How sad!

How I wish I could tell people the old way is still the best! Don’t follow the lead. Well, as if people listened to me.

PS. my daughter said riding bike could also save a lot when you did not need to pay for car, auto insurance and high gas price.


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