A very belated Earth Day post

Some of us remember the first Earth Day. It was a big deal. We learned about it in school. In fact I remember one especially dire film, probably narrated by Walter Cronkite (they were all narrated by Walter Concrite, it seemed, except for the ones about men-stru-a-tion), which ended with the image of a giant bulldozer about to crush a nest of hatchling chicks.

Chaos broke out in the classroom. Wouldn't the filmmakers have stopped the bulldozer? And if not, why not? How could they allow those birds to die?

As I recall that was the point of the documentary, giant smokestacks spewing sulfurous gases into the air, litter clogging the waterways, wall-eyed fish washing up onto the shore. And dead chicks.

Of course, we were the generation subjected to those nasty lungs. Remember those? Some guy from the cancer association would tour schools with these two plastic cases. One contained a healthy human lung. The other a smoker's lung. He would attach a pump to the cases to demonstrate how the pink, non-smoker's lung filled and deflated efficiently while the black, shriveled smoker's lung wheezed and quivered like an old squeeze box.

I suspect they treat children's feelings more gently today. But I can tell you one thing, I've never smoked a single cigarette. And I grew up with an absolute horror of scarring virgin land.

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