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So I went to the Earth Day Festival downtown today. And I don’t know if I’ve become too old and cynical or if the festival has actually changed, but I was feeling more and more disillusioned by the whole thing. I ran into Camry in the middle of it all, and told her it was depressing me, but I couldn’t really verbalize why. I’ve done a little bit of thinking, and I think I’ve come up with at least a handful of things that really bothered me about this year’s festival. Here they are, in random order…
1. The number of booths that have absolutely nothing to do with the environment. Some are actually worthy causes – such as Relay for Life – but still have nothing to do with Earth Day in general. Some, though, are clearly way outside the realm of earth-friendly. The most blatant example I saw this year was an ice cream truck. What could be more counter-productive to the cause than a van that drives around all day (burning how much gas?) selling mass-produced unhealthy snacks wrapped in plastic to kids who promptly dispose of the wrappers and sticks by tossing them on the ground??? I mean, seriously, whoever lines up the booths for the festival clearly didn’t put much thought into that. Where was Bucks Ice Cream – which makes its creamy goodness from milk from the Ag School’s dairy farm? Or that family I’ve seen at the Farmers’ Market that makes honey-flavored ice cream from their own hives? Surely one of those would have been more appropriate.

2. All of the pagan and wiccan groups. I love pagans and wiccans, I’ve had lots of wonderful pagan & wiccan friends, and to be quite honest, had I not become a Christian at an early age, I would have probably ended up in one of those camps. But seeing so many booths pushing the religions at Earth Day just bothered me. I think it mainly boils down to two reasons. One is that the wiccans and pagans seem to be subtly equating care for nature with worship of nature, and there seems to be a blurring of the line there. It makes me sad to think that they are so focused on the creation that they are ignoring or just missing out on the Creator. The flip side of that is the second reason I was bothered: I didn’t see Christian organizations there. That’s probably because so many Christians have gone so far the other way – they focus on the Creator, but don’t place much value on what He has created. Even though it is clear that God is pleased with His creation and desires us to enjoy it and be caretakers of it. Clearly there has to be a middle ground where people respect and care for creation, even as the honor and worship the Creator who dreamed it all up.

3. All the emos, Goths & hippies that seem to think that Earth Day is equivalent to “Counter-Culture” Day. This bothers me for so many reasons. For one, it’s like an excuse or a motivation for people to prove how “counter-cultural” they are – how non-mainstream or non-conformist they are. It’s a self-righteous sort of thing, a sort of pride in not being “normal.” That just grates on my nerves. Wearing tie-dye does not make you better than anyone else, nor does it prove you’re more eco-conscious. And wearing your eco-consciousness as some sort of display does not make you better than anyone else. I guess I just strongly dislike self-righteousness in anyone for any reason. To live a sustainable, earth-friendly life doesn’t require strange garb or weird hair. I applaud the folks who try to integrate their care for the earth into every-day, normal lives. That’s also why I hate Priuses. Aside from the environmentally destructive manufacturing practices that go into making them, many people who drive them do so mainly to have the appearance of being eco-conscious. They could easily drive an older compact car that gets the same gas mileage, or even a Civic Hybrid (although it has many of the same downsides as the Prius) or a diesel, but it wouldn’t be as obvious to the world, and so they don’t – they pick the car that stands out in the crowd. It’s all about image and I just get very annoyed with people who are more concerned about their image than their actions. I also wonder how many of the tie-dye clad, skirt & Birkenstock wearing people in that crowd wear name-brand clothes the other 364 days in the year.

4. Fat dogs. OK, this one might seem kind of silly, but I’m really bothered by all the people who drag their poor fat dogs out to go to Earth Day. I could just look at some of those roly-poly puppies and tell that they haven’t been on a real walk in months – maybe years, and their owner is just dragging them through the streets expecting them to keep up. I get pretty disgusted with any display of irresponsible pet-ownership, and this is just one example of it. If you own a dog, you should help it keep in shape by feeding it right and making sure it gets plenty of exercise. If your pooch has already gotten a little chubby, don’t expect him to be up for a marathon day of hiking around downtown. Just like a human couch potato, the canine kind needs to be eased into an active lifestyle, to build up stamina and endurance. Too much exercise too soon puts strain on their joints, heart and lungs. All those doggies will lie around panting all night and will be stiff and sore tomorrow. Poor puppies.