To Celebrate Earth Day 2020 Vow to Vote

To Celebrate Earth Day 2020 Vow to Vote April 22, 2020

The Blue Ridge Mountains photo by Ron DeKett

Rainbows, Anyone? Anyone?

Wildfires stalk our living rooms—they should never have built houses there.

Drought-cracked fields spurn our seeds—we survived the Dust Bowl, didn’t we?

That bear on the shrinking ice floe—yeah, well, nature has her cycles.

Let’s drill for oil!

Beauties like Sandy and Katrina flail our shores—been happening for centuries.

Typhoon Haiyan ravages the Philippines—that’s a long way away.

Bye, bye, Netherlands—technology will save them.

At 10 a.m. Thursday a moment of silence to remember coral reefs.

Oops! there goes phytoplankton and the whole marine food chain.

California should consider installing waterless toilets—overreacting again.

Glaciers weep, pouring tears down the Alps like disintegrating Pietas—fake news.

See the streets of Maui and Manhattan! Rent your scuba gear here!

Noah, how do we build a rainbow?


As I write these words, competing issues sit on my shoulders vying for attention: the pandemic and the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

The Pandemic

As it is for us all, the pandemic has changed my life. Daily, I deal with fear, frustration and hope that this soon will end although I know it won’t. And I am one of the lucky ones.

My husband and I live in the country. We take long walks. We enjoy our daffodils and red tulips. We shake our heads at the cardinal that sits on our car’s side mirror and hops off to peck at itself in the driver’s side window. This morning, I saw a bluebird sitting atop one of our many bird houses. On weekdays, we homeschool our grandson whose parents work for an essential business.

When I think of people who are dying alone of COVID-19, it breaks my heart. Children cooped up without school or friends. Health-care workers bravely facing their tasks.

Earth Day

On my other shoulder, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day this April 22 whispers in my ear. I’m active in the Citizens Climate Lobby, but we aren’t lobbying Congress right now. Usually, we call, send emails, write op-ed pieces, whatever we can, to urge passage of a bill that will put a price on carbon emissions and return the funds to the American people.

But Congress has its mind on other things.

While we’re marking time, however, the Trump Administration is barreling forward with its lethal rollbacks of clean air and water standards that will denigrate public health and pump more greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.

The administration is preparing to take us “over the climate cliff,” says a 2019 report by the New York University School of Law. How? By dismantling regulations on industries such as coal, oil and gas, automotive and landfills, which annually account for more than half of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

The result? In addition to ramping up global warming, we will see major increases in asthma attacks, premature deaths, and lost work and school hours.

The cliff looms. But we are not lemmings. We are voters. Yet, some voters take an attitude—politicians are in the pockets of fossil fuel industries. And the ones that aren’t, don’t stand up and confront climate change.

Signs of Hope

Life on Earth is too precious to fall prey to cynicism. If enough environmentalists vote, politicians will pay attention. They want to stay in office.

In the U.S., about nine out of ten voters who are Democrats or Independents leaning toward that party say climate change is a major threat to the United States, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted March 3-29. Overall, 60 percent of Americans agree.

It seems the news everywhere is bleak. But my husband just read me an article in The New York Times about people setting up streaming marble races. Teachers are reaching as many students as they can on the Internet. Churches are holding virtual services. Neighbors are delivering food.

May I add to that list? More people than ever before are registering to vote. More of us are reading up on candidates—what is their record on the environment? What are their proposals? More of us are learning and sharing how, when, and where to vote. Can we vote absentee? Visit your Secretary of State’s website or visit vote411.org or Turbovote.org.

This Nov. 3 may be the most important U.S. election ever. As a people, we have risen to the occasion in the past. The bigger the threat, the more heroic the response.

We have broad shoulders.

About Nan Lundeen
Nan Lundeen is the author of Gaia’s Cry, Black Dirt Days: Poems as Memoir, The Pantyhose Declarations and Moo of Writing. Visit her at nanlundeen.com. You can read more about the author here.

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