Monday, April 16, 2007

Hope in The Post

My Sundays usually begin with a perusal of The Washington Post. My husband grabs the front page (& comics), so I head straight for the book review section. Yesterday, there weren’t any nature or science books that caught my eye (though I'm going to check out one on mistakes women make trying to balance career and motherhood--The Feminine Mistake). But when my husband relinquished Page 1, my reading ups and downs began.

First came a down. As a minor participant but fervent supporter in the StepItUp global warming protests Saturday, I anticipated a front page story on the 1,400 rallies nationwide. Nope. Paging deeper into the Post, I finally came upon a below the fold, left hand corner item on A6, Nationwide, a Clamor Over Global Warming. Compare those few inches of coverage to literally pages on the primary fundraising duel between Obama and Clinton, and you can see my distress. If an international outcry against the greatest environmental threat ever faced can’t get the headlines, what can?

Distraught over the StepItUp reporting, I was in the perfect mood to see an “Outlook” section editorial by a fine writer I know, Janna Bialek. She charges in
Why I Won’t Be Celebrating Earth Day This Year
that environmentalists have become just another special interest group. By arranging carpools and recycling drives, she argues, environmentalists let others off the hook to drive SUVs and overheat their McMansions. Bialek’s sitting out Earth Day, she says, and now rejects being called an environmentalist because “Time has proved that the message of Earth Day—that awareness will lead to action—is na├»ve.” Some readers might view such words as an admission of defeat, but Bialek, I think, means them to jolt us into action. On Earth Day, she’ll skip the organized tree plantings to search alone for wildflowers or eagles, but mostly for spiritual renewal. She needs, as we all do, hope that we can find a way to save the earth. That, I think, is how I’ll make Earth Day every day this year, searching for hope in newspapers, films, books, and of course outdoors.

I’d be remiss not to mention another source of hope in Sunday’s Post. Chad Pregracke is in Washington, D.C., running cleanups of the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers. The projects are part of his riverkeeping campaign that began a decade ago on the Mississippi. The Post calls him “the Al Gore of the nation’s river system,” and Robert Kennedy, Jr. hails him as “a genuine American hero.” What’s not to be hopeful about that? DC area readers might like to read the Post article, Trawling for Trash to Keep our Rivers Clean, especially if you have time to pitch in. But if you’d like to learn about hands-on, stepped-up environmental action, visit the website for Pregracke’s 2007 book, From the Bottom Up: One Man’s Crusade to Clean America’s Rivers . I haven’t read it yet, so I’d love to hear what people think of it.

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