Earth Day

Today, 22 April, is Earth Day. First held in the US on April 22, 1970, it was opened up to the rest of the world in 1990 and now includes a wide range of events coordinated globally by EarthDay.org (formerly Earth Day Network) including 1 billion people in more than 193 countries. On Earth Day 2016, the landmark Paris Agreement was signed by the United States, the United Kingdom, China, and 120 other countries. This signing satisfied a key requirement for the entry into force of the draft climate protection treaty adopted by consensus of the 195 nations present at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. Many communities engaged in Earth Day actions: an entire week of activities was focused on the environmental issues that the world faces. On Earth Day 2020, over 100 million people around the world observed the 50th anniversary in what has been referred to as the largest online mass mobilisation in history.

52 years on, the message is more vital than ever. The official website leads with this statement:

“This is the moment to change it all — the business climate, the political climate, and how we take action on climate. Now is the time for the unstoppable courage to preserve and protect our health, our familiesour livelihoods… together, we must Invest In Our Planet.

Because a green future is a prosperous future.

We need to act (boldly), innovate (broadly), and implement (equitably). It’s going to take all of us. All in. Businesses, governments, and citizens — everyone accounted for, and everyone accountable. A partnership for the planet.

And while there is still time to solve the climate crisis, time to choose BOTH a prosperous and sustainable future, and time to restore nature and build a healthy planet for our children and their children, time is short.

For Earth Day 2022, together, for everyone, everything, every day… 

#InvestInOurPlanet

As you may have noticed, I post a fair bit of music here and was rather taken by the official song for today, which is shown on the website. Although it is sung in Ukrainian its powerful message comes through loud and clear:

There is an English translation of the lyrics on YouTube. They are:

My child’s an open book, we sang “All creatures great & small”

This means as we see the light, for me to stand, you won’t fall

I’ve been weak, now I feel strong I know what it is like not to belong

Through many dangers, toils n’ snares, I have grown

Grace brought me thus far, love will lead me home

To judge a man, look at his creed

How does he treat those he does not need?

I’ll respect you, as you will me

We’ll fight but still be friends; that’s our victory

Through many dangers, toils n’ snares, we have grown

If Grace made us all, love – In this Earth we share, love –

Love must lead us home.

You don’t really need to understand the lyrics to get the feel of that, do you? The grace that has got us this far and love for our planet are so important for its survival. There is much more about this on the website, explaining the importance of this issue and why we should all take an interest and do what we can, whether that be as individuals, as part of businesses, or as governments. It is vital for the future of the planet that we do, or else what are we going to be leaving for our children and grandchildren?

Last November I posted Tuesday Tunes 81: Environment, the theme of which was songs of protest against the way we are treating our planet. I won’t repeat the whole piece here, but you can follow that link if you’d like to see which songs I chose. Several of them were of similar vintage to the beginnings of Earth Day, and whilst some progress has been made in the fifty years since then there is still so much more we can and need to do. It was no coincidence to me that I shared those songs three weeks before my second granddaughter was born: whilst I’m 68 and have to accept that my days on the planet are more behind me than ahead of me, what kind of future will she have? What will the world be like by the time she reaches my age – in 2090 – if it still exists?

My small contribution to today is to share again the two songs which bookended that piece, as a reminder to us all. The first is from a Cat Stevens album released in 1970, Tea For The Tillerman, which was reworked in 2020 to mark its fiftieth anniversary:

This is some of what I said when I played it before: “The song’s message is even more powerful now than it was fifty years ago, and the video is terrific. This is one that has never been released as a single, so may not be familiar to you, but I think it deserves to be heard. I saw him play live in 2009, as part of a series of concerts to mark the 50th anniversary of Island Records. He began with a track from his newly released album, and then played this: you could have heard a pin drop, apart from the audience singing quietly along with him. We were all word perfect, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house!” I share his concerns for my granddaughters’ future.

And this is the one with which I closed that selection:

Again, this is part of what I said then: “This was the closing track on Queen’s album, The Works. I can still recall the first time I played the album, sitting in stunned silence after it finished until the click of the needle going round and round on the vinyl jolted me back to reality. How much power is there in that two minutes of music? I think we should all play that song on a regular basis, in case we are ever in danger of forgetting its message.” It still has that same effect on me now: the power and beauty of its simplicity really enhance its meaning, to my mind.

I mentioned in that previous post another song which I had thought to include, but shied away from due to the extreme difficulty of getting a version which the record company will allow us to hear. But, on reflection, I’m playing it today in the hope that it will be available to you, wherever you are. It describes how our predecessors have invested in the planet, but not necessarily in ways which would protect and prolong its life, and it is another of those songs which is still just as relevant as a reminder today as it was in 1976 when it was first released:

That video has been on YouTube for nine years so I hope you can see it. If not, maybe this official audio-only version will play for you. That song is, of course, written from an American perspective of history, but those of us in other countries have done our bit to destroy what nature has given us, though we may not have driven out the native population in doing so. This was the closing track on what I still think is The Eagles’ masterpiece album, Hotel California. And the phrase ‘Last Resort’ is a pretty good summation of our chances at solving the climate change issues that the world faces, I think.

You may well see something about Earth Day in the news today. Please don’t let it pass you by. All of the recent news about fossil fuels and our dependence on them, in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, should be reminding of this every day. This isn’t just an issue for the ‘woke,’ cranks and weirdos – it affects us all and will define what kind of planet we bequeath to our dependants, or even if we do leave something sustainable for them. We don’t want this to be our legacy, do we:

46 thoughts on “Earth Day

  1. couldn’t resist stopping by at this post to listen to Cat singing a classic song. that must have been something to be in that audience. On a different note, I just came across a concert near me featuring Al Stewart and his band. The concert is sold out, but there is a livestream option that I might try to see how it is…

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was a wonderful experience, one of the best I’ve ever been to. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed if you go for the Al Stewart live stream – he has a catalogue of fantastic songs.

      Liked by 1 person

      • He does. He’s been going for more than 50 years so he’s built up a lot in that time. I just had a look at the website for the show you mentioned. Not very helpful! No mention as to whether livestream could be purchased from the UK or whether it stayed open for a while after the show, like many such streams do. It starts at 1am our time and I’d rather watch it when I’m awake!

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  4. A powerful post, Clive and well-chosen songs we should treat every day as Earth day and try to do our best like you I have more years behind me than in front and I fear what we will leave for our grandchildren …Have a great Sunday 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy belated Earth Day, Clive. I enjoyed your selection of music for today and join with you in your wish for a healthy world for the future. It rests with each one of us making an effort to the best of our knowledge and ability. I drive a hybrid car with 25 free miles with ever plug-in, yet eventually the batteries will die, as my first hybrid battery did. We each need to do a better job of buying things in bulk rather than packages, but they are convenient, so we buy them. I drink filtered water out of the fridge although that isn’t always enough protection against pollution. Good luck on your influencing campaign.

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  6. I’m always glad to see people posting about Earth Day & the environment. I hadn’t heard any of these songs before, but all are very appropriate under the circumstances. I especially like the cartoon at the end … I might just have to borrow that one! Happy Earth Day (belatedly), my friend!

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  7. Perfect choices for Earth Day, Clive. I give every song a ten today. The one I hadn’t heard of before was from Queen. That was an unexpected pleasure as many others are bigger fans of them than me.

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    • I think the songs speak to us all, and as one is from 1970 and two from the mid-80s the concerns are anything but new. Sadly, those in power for the most part either choose or have been bought not to listen. That Ukrainian one is incredible, isn’t it!

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  9. A wonderful reminder, Clive! I would say 99% of the people don’t know that they save themselves by saving the planet. Our world and the weather turned upside down in the US in the last two years because of climate change.

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    • Thank you, Miriam. I think it sad that so many need such a reminder, either through ignorance or wilful denial of reality. A lot has turned upside down in the past few years – in the US your former president was the cause of much of that, given his rejection of the Paris Accord despite all the evidence of changing weather conditions.

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      • He did many foolish things. I don’t think he took any science classes at school or He failed all of them. He was in denial of the pandemic. He only acted on false belief. Many doctors and officials held their tongues. Whoever spoke up got fired even to his last days in office.
        He’ll run for the next campaign to keep the money coming to his campaign account. So sad.

        Liked by 1 person

      • He’ll run as it is very lucrative for him to part fools from their money and because he might hope that doing so would keep him out of prison. I hope that is where he ends up: he deserves that, and it would be a disaster for the world if he was elected again!

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      • Hopefully that support will dwindle, and the 6 Jan investigation nails him. The rest don’t exactly fill me with confidence either: it’s a bit like here!

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      • He’s out campaigning. I don’t want to hear a word from the news. I’m glad some of his people testify against him. NY City is suing his business practice. The law makers will get him one way or the other.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Everybody knows what needs to be done to save the planet, but nobody does anything. It’s all talk, talk talk and no action. World leaders should ban deforestation and other things that harm the planet, but nobody does anything. Therefore the planet will continue to heat up.

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