What time is Earth Day?

Earlier this month, in the midst of being informed it was “National Grilled Cheese Day,” I remember thinking, “Why so many national days? Why can’t it just be Friday?”

Some days are worth remembering, but other days, not so much.

To be clear, know that I, too, love a well-made grilled cheese sandwich. It’s a well-known fact of life that everyone must always know where they can get a grilled cheese sandwich. It’s a constant. It shouldn’t be limited to just one day.

Sadly, it is. In some groups (vegans and the lactose intolerant), it might not be known at all.

While it may remain unknown for those concerned with dairy products, branding a day in such a way for the rest of us not only burdens the "cause" you’re advocating, but also contradicts the message it’s trying to spread.

It simplifies it and reduces it to an irrelevant and dismissive level. If anything, the only effect National Grilled Cheese Day had on me was to not eat one.

Apply that to Earth Day (April 22), and you may say the same thing.

Out of 365 days a year (and an extra day every four years), we “remember” and take time out of our day to consider the planet we call home.

Some plant trees. Some throw the “recyclable” trash in the “blue” waste bucket. Is this enough? Does it even make a difference?

If it’s anything like the loss of appetite I suffered regarding melted cheese sandwiched between two great big slices of Texas toast, then the odds that anyone actually cares for or is affected by Earth Day (in its desired capacity) don’t look good either.

Apathy toward both holidays — National Grilled Cheese Day and Earth Day — highlights a significant flaw in how we’ve been going about things for far too long.

The Earth quite literally deals with both life and death and should garner more respect than the above average and simple courtesy we show it during Earth Day celebrations once a year.

And no, your “garden” of herbs isn’t enough either.

No one is immune to this. My venus fly trap, Wyctor, contributes nothing to society. It’s all about me; it’s all in vain. He and I both know it.

As disgusting as it is to quote Shakespeare (whether accurately or not), is it “much ado about nothing” to discuss what Earth Day has inevitably become? Just another tedious task — on a Monday, no less?

According to the “About Us” portion of the Earth Day Network, very little has been accomplished since the 1970s when Earth Day originated. We’re still “slurping leaded gas through massive V-8” vehicles. Conversations about the environment are either blindly refuted — and evidence and alternatives to the contrary not even addressed or acknowledged — or are overly dramatized to elicit an emotional connection.

Earth Day should be embraced on a global scale and more importantly on a global level, “universal” even, not a singular day or isolated moment.

It’s going to take more than electric cars and trees in urban areas to make a difference. We’re going to have to start being nice to one another and be willing to work together — all the while refraining from littering.

If not, Earth will have the last laugh.


Reach the columnist at jbfortne@asu.edu or follow him at @JOMOFO40


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