Will We Be Honored for Our Courage and Vision?

(Lexington Minuteman – April 27, 2006)

In April we in Lexington look back to the year 1775 and honor our forebears for their courage and vision as they took bold and frightening steps into an unknown future that led to the birth of the American Revolution and the creation of our Democracy.

Will our descendents look back on the year 2006 and honor us for waking up in time to spare the world the most shattering impacts of global climate change? Will we be honored for our courage and vision, for taking the bold and at times frightening steps into a world that lowered its greenhouse gas emissions and created a sustainable modus operandi for generations to come?

Another annual April event is Earth Day. All around the world events are held to mark the anniversary of the first Earth Day, the birth of the modern environmental movement, on April 22, 1970.

The Earth Day Network (www.earthday.net) recalls the history of Earth Day in the following excerpt:

Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species acts…

As 1990 approached, a group of environmental leaders asked Denis Hayes [national coordinator for 1970 Earth Day Director] to organize another big campaign. This time, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting the status of environmental issues on to the world stage. Earth Day 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro…

As the millennium approached, Hayes agreed to spearhead another campaign, this time focused on global warming and a push for clean energy. Earth Day 2000 sent the message loud and clear that citizens the world 'round wanted quick and decisive action on clean energy.

The Earth Day Network reports it is launching a new worldwide initiative. It states “this Earth Day in April may be the most important in the event's 36 years. This year, everyone involved—in 174 countries—will help launch an intense three-year global campaign to slow and stop climate change. Because of the Earth Day Network's long reach, the campaign will teach and enlist people and organizations everywhere, from K-12 and college students to governments, corporations, and religious institutions.”

In Lexington our local Global Warming Action Coalition is honoring Earth Day with two events. On Saturday, April 29, GWAC is sponsoring an “Earth DayEvery Day Fair “on the Visitors’ Center lawn, next to Buckman Tavern, from 10 am to 2 pm. Environmental groups, alternative vehicles, and “green” vendors will all be on hand for this family friendly event. There will be food, music and lots of information concerning the environmental health of our town and our planet. The rain date is May 6.

On Sunday night, April 30, at 7:30 pm at the Hancock Church, Seth Kaplan, Director of the Conservation Law Foundation's Clean Energy and Climate Change Program will speak on things we can do at the local, state and regional level to curb global warming.

Both of these events are free and open to all. They are opportunities for all of us to learn about the challenge we face and practical ways we can make a difference. Join us as we work together to learn how to move in a new and bold direction to ensure a future for our children and grandchildren.

For more information, see GWAC's website: www.lexgwac.org