Is your Earth Day cup half empty?

Letters to the Editor
Today is Earth Day, born fifty years ago as an opportunity to celebrate all the progress we’ve made in protecting the environment. I received an email today from a friend who used to give save-the-planet workshops with me in Ottawa schools, a dreamer taking action to make change. But today she was lost:
“This brings to mind the disproportionate response to COVID-19 while scientists have been telling us for some time now that we are on the cusp of extinction of all life on Earth due to climate change.  No climate lockdowns have occurred or any response that is even close to what is occurring for the virus.  Will we be saved from the virus so that we can end all life on Earth due to environmental destruction?”

Her question is valid. But it’s equally valid to ask, “Will seeing the whole world pull together for this virus inspire more of us to pull together for climate action too?” We’re working with the same data, but responding differently. Hope inspires more action than gloom does. Earth Day can inspire us to nurture that hope, there’s so much online today about achievements.

Acting locally may not be more than a drop in the ocean of challenges, and it may not change the decisions of the Big Players. But it helps locally, it gives hope locally, it triggers further action from others, and that’s how drops become oceans. Yes, that all sounds pie-in-the-sky, but it works. Ask Margaret Mead.

So in the MV Gardening Club, we’ve started a program to teach non-gardeners how to grow veggies this summer. It won’t save the world, but it’s helping, and is also keeping me sane. Jana Stanfield said, “I cannot do all the good that the world needs. But the world needs all the good that I can do.”

Terry Newcombe
Barry’s Bay
photo Noah Buscher on

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