Earth Day – 2013

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Today is Earth Day. This whole week is actually Earth Week. Sorry I just got to the post but I was out on the Earth today. Of course, everyone is out on the earth. Whether you spent it in front of your computer, in front of a classroom or in front of the most wonderful view, you’re on the earth.

But Earth Day is about enjoying the natural earth. It’s not about drinking beer or listening to a band. which it seems is what it was mostly about in Asheville and probably most other places. In other venues, it was all about talking about climate change.

I remember the first Earth Day in 1970. It was the height of the hippie era. Air pollution was awful and gas guzzling cars filled the road. As with most of these successful movements, it’s hard to attribute the idea of Earth Day to any one specific person.

But today, according to some reports, people are less earth conscious than they were in 1971, a year after the first Earth Day. Read this Christian Science Monitor Report. Frankly that’s hard to believe.

More people are aware of the effects of climate change. Cars use less gasoline. No one would think about throwing trash on the trail. And recycling has become law in most cities. Does that sound like less earth conscious?

But still, not enough people are getting out on a trail – hiking, biking, paddling or skiing. There’s a lot of talk about enjoying the wilderness but not enough people are doing it. Even in the East, most woods trails are empty.

Here in the Southern Appalachians, we have Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Appalachian Trail. Lost of state park as well, yet people stay close to their cars.

What can we do to get them to take that first step onto a trail? As I go around the state of North Carolina talking about the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, I get a lot of questions about bears, snakes, and other problems that they heard about walking on a trail?

I don’t want to end this on a downer. So Happy Earth Day and get out there.

 

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