THE REACTION was probably not what the organizers expected: A serious level of cynicism towards the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, especially with its multitude of corporate sponsors. The Washington Post said the event was suffering a "midlife crisis," and The New York Times accused high-end toy store FAO Schwarz of "taking advantage of Earth Day to showcase Peat the Penguin."
There was also a level of righteous indignation from some. In response to why she was not "celebrating" Earth Day, blogger Christie Ritz King wrote, "Why, because we are Earth conscious every day."
Green means money, that's for certain. So much so now that lawsuits are being filed against companies that have been charging top dollar for products that are "green" in name only.
But since the first Earth Day, held on April 22, 1970, much excellent work has been done to clean up - and keep clean - the environment.
Are people taking things for granted? Perhaps to a certain extent, but regulations - and even stronger nowadays, public shame - are certain to keep us all in line.
GODZILLA IS GREEN
The exploitation of public eco-consciousness has been always with us.
The best example of this, in my opinion, is the movie Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster, where the mighty atomic lizard battles a living embodiment of pollution in an epic battle that could be best described as psychedelic.
The film's theme song, the bubblegum pop "Save the Earth," is impossible to get out of your head.
The movie, however, politely ignores the fact that the 200 tonnes Smog Monster, called Hedorah in Japan, is, by the end of the flick, now a dead 200 tonnes mountain of toxic sludge. So we got rid of one problem, but still have another.
Perhaps it's a metaphor...
Another fun fact that's sci-fi and Earth Day related: The original Earth Day flag, that mutated US flag with a yellow Theta on a field of green (see above), with green and white stripes, was designed by Ron Cobb, who went on to design sets and props for the genre films Alien, Star Wars, Conan the Barbarian and others.
NATURAL & DELICIOUS
If Earth Day is about using our planet's resources responsibly, here's a memory that fits: It was either August 1972 or 1973, and we'd been visiting some of my parents' friends who lived on a farm in Upstate New York.
A mutual friend had struck a deer on his way up to the farm, and had called the police. When the friend asked what would happen to the deer carcass, the cop replied, "Do you know anyone who can dress a deer?"