Earth Day -- What have you done for your environment lately?
Earth Day adventures
Earth Day – What have you done for your environment lately?
Yesterday was Earth Day. It is supposed to be a day you do something good for the environment. Instead, the media turned it into this silly game of going out to take “nature selfies”. What? Instead of doing something to improve your environment, you are going out into nature and taking a picture of yourself. How is this helping the environment? Instead it encourages people to be more vain and silly.
Why don’t people care more about their environment? Yesterday my brother Howard and I took several trash bags, put on gloves and went into Saratoga Spa State Park to pick up trash.
Previous walks showed us the incredible amount of trash in the park. The park contains the outdoor concert venue Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC). It is a beautiful place to hear beautiful music. Unfortunately, the concerts attract huge crowds and the accompanying trash, even with visible trash cans everywhere. The woods surrounding SPAC are teeming with empty beer cans, liquor bottles and “red solo cups”
The rest of the park has a “bring in, carry out” policy, which very few people seem to follow. Monday morning following Easter Sunday, which was a great day weather wise, we went for a walk along Geyser Creek, which flows through the park. The walk revealed picnic trash in almost every barbecue grill, under picnic tables, and even dirty baby diapers,
So Howard and I were determined to do our part to try to make one small part of our world a little bit brighter. We didn’t even make it onto the first trail before filling up one trash bag. The trail bordered a parking lot, and people seemed to take it upon themselves to use the entire parking lot as their trash cans. It was obvious that they would just throw out every bit of the trash in their cars on the parking lot.
As we continued on, we passed several people enjoying the beautiful weather on Earth Day. Not one person asked what we were doing or offered to help in our efforts. Although we were proud of what we did, we remain frustrated that there aren’t more people who want to do something.
What can we do to try to change people’s attitudes? We talked to one fisherman who was enjoying the day. Although he wasn’t doing any cleaning, he mentioned yelling at some people who had emptied trash out of their car onto the parking lot. He said the look they gave him actually scared him. People actually believe it is their right to pollute the world.
Back in 1970, when the first Earth Day in the United States was established by US Senator Gaylord Nelson, it was held as a “teach-in” to reflect the hippie and flower-child culture at the time. According to the website earthday.org, 1970 brought the death of Jimi Hendrix, the last Beatles album, and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. Protest was the order of the day, but saving the planet was not the cause. War raged in Vietnam, and students nationwide increasingly opposed it.
At the time, Americans were slurping leaded gas through massive V8 sedans. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of legal consequences or bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. “Environment” was a word that appeared more often in spelling bees than on the evening news.
Although mainstream America remained oblivious to environmental concerns, the stage had been set for change by the publication of Rachel Carson's New York Times bestseller Silent Spring in 1962. The book represented a watershed moment for the modern environmental movement, selling more than 500,000 copies in 24 countries and, up until that moment, more than any other person, Ms. Carson raised public awareness and concern for living organisms, the environment and public health.
Earth Day 1970 capitalized on the emerging consciousness, channeling the energy of the anti-war protest movement and putting environmental concerns front and center. (http://www.earthday.org/earth-day-history-movement).
Now, it seems to not be the popular thing to do any more, and that is a sad reality indeed.
But since my hub page is about the trails in the capital region, I will have to say that the Saratoga Spa State Park trails are pretty challenging. Not necessarily in the terms of terrain, although some of the trails can be on the steep side, but in the fact that they are broken up and intersected by roads and not clearly marked.
The park has over three miles of trails, but they are not clearly marked. That is the most challenging part of the trails. But once you are on the trails, you will be treated to many great sights, both man-made and natural.
The park boasts the famous Gideon Putnam Hotel, which was built in the 1930s along with the spas and mineral water treatments that Saratoga Springs is famous for. There is also a trail that follows Geyser Creek and many wetland viewing areas. In a later post I will walk the trails myself and take pictures.