Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day Thoughts

I was in high school at the first Earth Day. I remember that along with my teenage anti-war and fighting the dress code efforts, it felt slightly subversive.

It's clear from the newspaper, the tv shows, the mailers, the emails, the Presidential proclamations, and so on, that Earth Day has become mainstream. I don't know the data, but I'm guessing that a significant majority of Americans now recycle, use the new light bulbs, turn off the lights and turn down the heat, and unplug as much as possible. Last week, my church announced it had achieved status as a green congregation. One tweeter wrote, "Earth Day is every day."

How great that is!

I can't help but think how much farther we are on environmental issues than on sexual and reproductive health issues. True, in 1970, homosexuality was still considered a mental illness and abortion was only legal in New York. But the most dramatic changes on those issues happened before I graduated from college -- and it seems like we have faced one battle after another for the past twenty five years.

My growing sense though is that there is a new societal consensus emerging -- and one can only hope and pray that in the next ten years, sexuality education will finally be commonplace, abortion rights will be secured, family planning services will be available as part of health care reform to all, and marriage equality will be secured, at least in many more states.

After all, who would have thought in 1970 that you'd be carrying water in an aluminum bottle or pulling a blue recycling bin to the curb each week?

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