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The famous ball atop Times Square in New York City has been refitted with energy-efficient LED lights and has been re-dubbed the 'Earth Ball' in honor of Earth Day and in anticipation of the 40th anniversary of the environmental holiday in 2010.
In case you didn't know, today is Earth Day. On the program, we talked about how this day means different things to different people ... and to some, not much at all.
Some think the commemoration is more of a cultural phenomenon, namely that Earth Day is somehow more popular among white environmentalists (although I think we dispelled that a bit today — check out our interviews with White House adviser Van Jones and with essayists from theRoot.com), while others think everyday should be a day for everyone to be more environmentally conscious.
So, what does Earth Day mean to you?
In the meantime, here are some perspectives from two of our own — TMM producers Monika Evstatieva and Douglas Hopper:
Today is Earth Day and I've just realized that I've never acknowledged it in past years. Do not get me wrong, I've heard about it but it just never meant anything to me. Why? Maybe because, where I come from in the Balkans, we have always had fresh and tasty produce. Maybe because environmental preservation was something only rich people talk about. Or, maybe because the country I grew up in really did not generate a large carbon footprint, because it was too underdeveloped and small in size to do so. I am not exactly sure why. ... What I know for sure is that no matter where you come from, the problem of green preservation will hit you one way or the other. The piles and piles of garbage on the streets of Sofia (my home city and the capital of Bulgaria) that are not recycled — and sometimes not even collected — bother all residents. I know that in the U.S., I have to try to be less wasteful. It is so easy to be wasteful here. And I know from the reporting we have done on the topic at "Tell Me More" over the last two years, it will become the world's number one problem — no matter what discussions and policy revisions occur in the meantime. ... And when even Walmart, with its scores of customers, begins pushing a "green" agenda (which it has), I have to remember that Earth Day is, not only today, but everyday
Thanks, Monika. Douglas, how do you think about Earth Day?
Lee, I've been thinking about Majora Carter's comment today — in theRoot.com roundtable conversation — about minorities feeling like it's not their planet, not their land — a kind of learned separation from the environment. It's something I've pondered lately as it relates to not knowing my ancestry — which I think perpetuated a sense that this is not MY world; that because I'm not connected to any history, I'm not connected to any FUTURE. This, coupled with the marginilization of being gay, I've often felt like being green is artificial. Even though I have participated, it has often been for social reasons for, at the very least, immediate results. Now, I'm considering the longterm results and feeling like I could/should have some influence. But at the same time, I'm troubled by my sense of disconnection. There's something deep about this notion of 'it's not my world' - on a political and spiritual level.
Thanks, D. Interesting reflections.
Now, it's your turn ...