Monday 22 April 2013

Earth Day Artifact

    Happy Earth Day!  After we got back from our morning walk, I went out to the attic of my shop to dig out this “Ecology Flag”, so I could take this photo.  
    As someone who has always been nature oriented, I was supportive of the protecting nature from a very early age.  I remember my Grandmother Schmidt getting regular newsletters from the Wilderness Society when I was a kid, so there was a family connection.  I grew up running around and playing in the woods, despite all the ticks and poison ivy.
    The environmental movement was very much in its infancy back in the very late 1960’s.  You didn’t hear much about nature sciences,  but I was extremely interested, and after returning home from Peace Corp training, I enrolled in two biology graduate courses:  “Evolution” and “Ecology”.  It was in 1970, while I was taking Ecology, that we began hearing about the proposed “Earth Day”.  
    My professor was motivated to organize a Earth Day celebration at the University of Evansville.  I helped with the event, and somehow convinced my mother to sew up an “Ecology” flag, that could be flown during the celebration.  I had seen an image of the flag somewhere and drew it up for her to use as a pattern.  As you can see, I still have the flag.  It is something you don’t see any more.  It never really caught on as a symbol.  There is an “Earth” flag that is a bit more common now.
    My ecology flag really hasn’t seen the light of day for quite a long time.  When I dug it out of storage this morning, I was surprised to find a hand written sticker with a $4.00 price on it.  It seems that at one point in its existence, it had been for sale at a rummage sale.  Fortunately, it wasn’t sold and was returned to my parent’s basement, where I retrieved it some years later.
    In one of Neil Young’s songs, he penned the line:  “Look at Mother Nature on the run, in the nineteen seventies”.  Sadly, looking back, the ‘seventies’ were ‘good’ years for Mother Nature, in comparison to what is going on today.  The naive hope we had of changing people’s behavior; to create a more nature friendly world, has been a dismal failure.  
    It is nice to still have the ecology flag, if only to remember those naive days of faith in humankind and hope for the future.  After seeing the flag once again, I think we will put it up somewhere for the summer, rather than just stick it back in storage until the next Earth Day rolls around.

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