From Tom Gordon, Executive Director at Maine Association of Conservations Districts and a member of the board of the Maine Lakes Society.
Forty five years ago today, I was co-chair of the Colby Environmental Council, putting on teach-ins and outdoor activities for the very first Earth Day. We finished the day with a concert by Gordon Bok and I sat with the VP of Scott Paper Company – somewhat uncomfortable since Scott was behind the Kennebec River log drives which I had been researching and opposing. A few years later, the log drives were gone, Scott had built a new state-of-the-art plant, and the public had access to the Kennebec again.
Science, regulation, education, sociology and spirituality have all been part of the mix of trying to make incremental change in the way we treat our world. Today, I want to make soil conservation mean something more than an apology for big agribusiness. The mantra of “we must feed 9 billion people by 2050” is false. We need to teach individuals and communities to sustainably feed themselves, locally and regionally, to be effective and efficient with their land use, and to not rely on the chemical and genetic tricks of big business. Soil has value, water has value, and these precious resources must be sustained and protected, and not wasted for short-term profit.
Today is Earth Day. But as we said 45 years ago, “every day is Earth Day.” Every day, we have the opportunity to think beyond our selves and make a difference in the world.The exercise of connecting with our environment is so sublime and complex that we must keep practicing it forever.