I'm so glad saving the planet has become cool again.
I think generations like mine that missed out on the '60s always held a bit of envy for that seemingly simpler time when if you weren't with them, you were against them. The lines were clearly defined; your protest had a target, a poster, and a dress-code (although nude was fine too); change was in the air – or was that pot…
In any case, here we are, 40 years into Earth Day, and never has the fight to save it mattered more. Of course, some of the innocence – and the loss of innocence – I can pin on the '60s comes only from the lens of distance and ignorance. Perhaps things aren't really any more dire now than they ever felt. But, I have to think that the weight of the world is heavier than it used to be. It sits on our children's shoulders, sinking them a few inches deeper into the soft spring dirt.
Sleepy Hollow's Earth Day festivities kicked off on Sunday on the grounds of the Winfield L. Morse playground, spilling out onto the Beekman sidewalk, with an event sponsored by the Downtown Revitalization Corporation.
Guests planted pansies and an aptly named arborvitae (trees of life!) in the park. There were free healthy snacks (tangerines, granola bars, water) alongside less healthy treats for sale (empanadas, pastries from Los Andes Bakery). The Sleepy Hollow High School band was slated to play after the winners of a sustainable art contest were announced.
The fence was lined with the art works by Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow schoolchildren, made from recycled materials in honor of the day. Depictions of a frowning earth, the earth in flames, an upside-down trash can with the earth falling out of it… One poster made by a group of kids summed up the disturbed mood: The earth is dying. We are at war with ourselves. How can we win? This is a plea for help. We must help each other fight this war. A war against desire.
It is hard to imagine how heavy this burden we have placed on our kids must be, or what sad poets this might turn them into. Here's this messed up world we're bequeathing to you, and oh, can you fix it before it's too late? My husband and I named our daughter after the ancient Greek word for Earth. Then we were only sort of joking when we said that she would save it.
For now, she just wants those free tangerines, oblivious of the dark underbelly of these otherwise cheerfully-colored posters. But there will come a time when there are no tangerines. Unless we keep planting those arborvitae, like our lives depend on it. Which they do.