Today is Earth Day, a day in which many right wingers of my acquaintance make jokes about idling cars, clear cutting forests, and having spotted owls for dinner. This attitude towards the environment though is born more out of political animosity towards greens than actual hatred for our planet. Bill Kauffman, writing at Front Porch Republic, the new paleo-/crunchy-/communitarian-/agrarian-/cool-conservative zine, has a better idea: bring back Arbor Day. Briefly recounting the history of both holidays, Kauffman finds the lesson of Arbor Day—practicing stewardship of the environment by planting trees—far more appealing and tangible for the individual than Earth Day. Kauffman writes:
Beyond its hometown of Nebraska City, Nebraska, Arbor Day has faded into obscurity; its historic date, April 22, will be given over this year to that dreary shower of corporate agit-prop known as Earth Day. The difference between Arbor Day and Earth Day is the difference between planting a tree in your backyard and e-mailing a machine-written plea for a global warming treaty to your UN representative.[…]
Earth Day has become a bloodless holiday for pallid urbanites, the sort of technology-dependent yuppies whose rare encounters with the unregulated outdoors usually end in paralyzing fears of Lyme disease. Earth Day is about as green as a $100 bill.
So on April 22 this year, when the networks and the schools and the politicians are droning on about the oppressive bore that is Earth Day, commit a simple act of resistance and patriotism: Plant a tree. Happy Arbor Day.
Works for me.