Earth Day & Beyond

by Don Corrigan (South County Times)

This has been an Earth Day Month. From the very beginning to the very end of April, there have been so many notable events to remind us how to become better stewards of the planet.

A number of these local events are becoming traditions, such as Sunset Hills Earth Day, Kirkwood Living Green’s Earth Day at the Farmer’s Market Greenway and the Webster University Sustainability Week.

Of course, there’s the giant Earth Day Festival at Forest Park that took place over two days this year on April 22-23. The St. Louis Zoo had a “Party for the Planet” on that weekend as well, which included lots of conversation with zoo keepers on green issues.

A new twist this year was the St. Louis Regional Historical Societies collaboration on an Environmental History Speaker Series. Presenters spoke on climate change, protection of rivers, dealing with disasters from dioxin to radiation contamination.

My plans for this final weekend of April had included a trip to Kirkwood Earth Day (now rescheduled for May 6). The May event will feature experts on topics from planting to harvesting. This year’s theme is “Unsung Heroes of Our Natural World.”

On tap for me this final weekend of April is coverage of the St. Louis People’s Climate March starting at noon downtown near the Arch and Old Courthouse. Marchers will advocate for reducing greenhouse gasses and pollution, and for support of climate change scientists whose data show global warming is for real.

I realize not everybody is on board with the reality of man-made climate change. Fully 3 percent of climate scientists remain skeptics. Citizen skeptics also send me some bizarre emails, such as the following:

“Sorry Chicken Little, people are figuring out that climate is just that, weather patterns and natural phenomena. Socialist alarmists and snowflakes like yourself need to get another gig. Pet rocks maybe? Go play mumbley peg, clown.”

How does calling people names further discussion? I’ve met plenty of serious people concerned about the greenhouse effect and its damage to the planet. They are not “clowns” or “snowflakes.” I am grateful for the acquaintances I’ve made while covering nature and the environment.

To mention just a few:
Charlie Hoessle of our St. Louis Zoo, Peter Raven of Missouri Botanical Garden, Lesley Hoffarth of Forest Park Forever, Gen. Ron Keys of DOD Energy Security, Larry Lazar of the Natural Resource Defense Council, David Lobbig of Missouri History Museum, Jim Turner of Sierra Club.

I’ve also had the privilege of doing podcasts on the EnvironmentalEcho blog with Rev. Taylor Hescox of the Evangelical Environmental Network, Dawn Chapman of Just Moms, Bill Ruppert of Grow Native, Jim Kramper of the Weather Service, Bob Wyss of Coal Black Sky, Carl Campbell of Climate Letters, and many more.

If these people are “snowflakes,” then bring on a blizzard!

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