Sunday, April 14, 2013

Celebrate Earth Day! Buy a Bulgemobile!

Bruce McCall's Bulgemobiles, first seen in National Lampoon.
I was a clean-cut lad of 19 when the first Earth Day was christened on April 22, 1970. I remember it well. The magnolias, dogwoods and the Carolina coeds were all in bloom. Not that it mattered much, as my chances were better going out on the town with a bloomin' tree than a real-live coed, most of whom seemed to be focused on their hippie boyfriends. A year later, I would trade my weekly ROTC haircuts for none at all. But in the spring on 1970, I was one squared-away but clueless guy. I was unaware that such a thing as Earth Day had sprouted amidst the counterculture. The earth was a mess. Polluted American rivers, such as the Cleveland's Cuyahoga, caught fire regularly. A few years earlier, Rachel Carson's had exposed the deadly effects of pesticides in Silent Spring. Counterculture types were getting back to the earth with Whole Earth Catalog as their bible and ganja as their guide.

Here it is, 43 years later, and Earth Day has shown a surprising persistence. In some places it's treated as an official holiday, without the day off and newspaper advertising supplements. Celebrate Earth Day! Buy a Bulgemobile!

Yesterday, while perusing the library's electronic card catalog, I saw a number of Earth Day books, most geared to young readers. There were surprisingly few for adults, although there is a new bio of Rachel Carson. The library had plenty of titles on climate change and global warming, many reflecting the battle over the topics, one that has been settled on the side of real science instead of right-wing fantasies.

Governmental entities are even getting into the act when it comes to sponsoring Earth Day events. The much-maligned Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is sponsoring a bunch of Earth Day events all over the U.S. Our region (CO, MT, etc.) boasts a number of them. Alas, there are none in Wyoming, which should make WY Rep. Cynthia Lummis very happy.

My employer, the Wyoming Division of State Parks and Cultural Resources, has teamed up with the Cheyenne Parks and Recreation Department to celebrate Earth Day and National Let’s Get Outside Day at the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens' Paul Smith Children’s Village on Saturday, April 20, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Activities including the making of trash robots, plant necklaces, a story time and a Story Walk, featuring the Giving Tree. Parents are encouraged to recycle old garden hoses by bringing them to the event for use at the Children’s Village. FMI: Ashley Rooney at 307-777-6560 or

In the "health and fitness" category, local gubment is stepping up to the plate with Step Up Cheyenne. What does health and fitness have to do with the environment? You don't want to be the human equivalent of a bulgemobile, do you? My family participated in StepUp last spring and summer and it did wonders in reducing our unwanted bulges. Walking 10,000 steps a day took 20 pounds off of me, leading to a svelte appearance that caused me to consume fewer resources. This is a public-private collaboration, sponsored by businesses (Wyoming Tribune-Eagle, WinHealth Partners) in partnership with Cheyenne Parks & Rec, Cheyenne Greenway Foundation, Laramie County School District No. 1 and a host of others.

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