The Mix

Two takes on Earth Day

Is the planet doomed, or are we saved? Depends who you ask.
Tomorrow is Earth Day, once again. Time to get out your best pair of Birkenstocks and hempen hacky sack and go to the park. But a celebration that has for many years felt like little more than lefty back-patting has finally gained a bit more traction in the media, due in large part to our looming energy crisis, the obvious and increasing seriousness of global warming, and the ongoing desecration of our natural resources by the industrialists in the White House.

I was particularly struck this week by the wildly different tone that people take when discussing Earth Day, and more to the point, the future of our planet. A perfect example comes today, with a side-by-side comparison of the Christian Science Monitor and The Center for American Progress's Talking Points.

For those of you who don't already receive them, CAP's daily Talking Points newsletter offers a quick, concise and fact-filled rundown of the day's biggest issue, and is often an invaluable resource. Here's a paraphrase of today's talking points:
  • Climate change is happening and we have only ourselves to blame.
  • The air we breathe is still too dirty, and our wilderness lands are under constant threat.
  • The environmental cause is bringing together an unlikely group of activists.

For comparison's sake, here's a snippet from an article by Brad Knickerbocker in the Monitor. He writes:
  • Air pollution has decreased 50 percent overall, with sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides dropping steadily.
  • Lakes in the Northeast are recovering from their earlier dousing with acid rain.
  • Endangered species, including bald eagles, wolves, and grizzly bears, have rebounded.
  • Cars no longer burn leaded gasoline.
  • Ozone-destroying chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) have been generally phased out.
It's in sharp contrast to the first Earth Day in 1970 when there were signs of serious trouble.
Matthew Wheeland is AlterNet's managing editor.
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