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JUDGE: Earth Day in Milam County

Like everything else, Earth Day has been politicized to the point where it is a partisan hot potato. It seems that no good deed can go without the political extremes of both parties taking ahold of the agenda and tying it closely to their own interests. Right, wrong, or indifferent, it is just a sign of the times; however, the origins of Earth Day are much simpler and much more inspirational than the current understandings of it are.

First held in 1970, it was proposed as a concept at the UN meetings in San Francisco back in 1969 by peace activist John McConnell. He proposed a global holiday to celebrate the Earth’s life, its beauty, and peace. He based this on Psalms 115:16 which says, “the earth he has given to the children of men.” (esv)

This first celebration was held on March 21 of 1970, but a month later Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin passed a resolution calling for an environmental teach-in to be held on April 22 of that same year; this is the date we use today. That year also saw President Nixon plant the first Earth Day tree at the White House, a tradition continued with each subsequent president.

There is a delicate mix between environmental protection and the advancing of civilization. There has never been a technological advancement that did not have some sort of adverse effect on the environment. For every form of progress there is a regressive, but necessary effect and thus one of the reasons there is truly no such thing as “clean energy.” We have to find the balance in a responsible, respectful, and constructive manner. Due to both the bipartisan “Clean Air Act’ and “Clean Water Act” signed into law by President Nixon, we live in a much cleaner and safer society than ever before. Do we still have issues? Of Course, but we cannot legislate ourselves to a better way, we have to lead and teach folks how to work for a better place to live.

There is an ancient proverb attributed to several authors that says, “A society grows when old men plant trees whose shade they shall never sit.” As we look at the people participating in Milam County’s Earth Day festivities, this holds true even today. If all politics start at the local level; well, so do all good things. And these activities are the local steps that lead to good things. It is my hope that our young people will continue to take the lead and help us build a society that will care for not only the earth, but our culture and thereby make it a better place than we inherited.

I closing, I leave you with the words that President Kennedy gave in his commencement address at the 1963 graduation ceremony at American University in Washington, DC.

“…in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that 

We all inhabit this small planet.

We all breathe the same air.

We all cherish our children’s future.

And we are all mortal.”

Our time on earth is limited, but our impact can be felt for generations, and it all starts with events like this. So, I thank everyone involved for all that you do, for all that you will do, and for the opportunities you are providing with your hard work today.



The Cameron Herald

The Cameron Herald
P.O. Box 1230
Cameron, Texas 76520

Phone: 254-697-6671
Fax: 254-697-4902