Blog | 20th Apr, 2011

The times, they are a-changin… Are we?

Earth Day, so the story goes, was born out of the aftermath of a devastating oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara, California in 1969.

The spill, like others of its kind, had tragic consquences for marine environments and wildlife but it also gave momentum to a budding environmental movement as people were united in their outrage and grief. So on the 22nd of April 1970, millions of people took to the streets across the USA in the first ever Earth Day gatherings – to make a stand for the planet and get environmental protection onto the national political agenda. Back then, such ideas were quite new – a bit radical even…

Last year marked 40 years of Earth Day and this time over one billion people took action in some way to commemorate the achievements and vision of the movement. However, in a chilling parallel of events, on the same day, April 22nd, another even more devastating and tragic oil spill was unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico – the repurcussions of which, are yet to be fully revealed.

What can we take from this? It is undeniable that we have come a long way since 1970. We know more now about the real impacts that we as individuals, as nations, as a species, are having on the planet. We are more aware. We know that our use of the planet CANNOT keep going the way it is going. That there is a point of no return. Yes, there are millions of people who are committed to living sustainably as individuals and in their work. There is really positive stuff happening – yet the same mistakes are still being made. We still have a long way to go.

Earth Day is an opportunity to reflect on our relationship with this planet from a fresh perspective. 2011 is a very different time to 1970 and the challenges for us are in some ways the same… but also different.

Damn it, we need to get radical! We need to channel some of that 70s energy! We have more information now, our movement is stronger, we have the numbers! Our failure to mobilise and act in defence of the environment could well turn out to be an environmental catastrophe in itself…

Check out what Earth Day is all about, and sign up to find out more about being an activist

And of course, keep your eye on the ACT pages of our website too for all the actions you can take at home and in our beautiful state of Victoria. Check ’em out