Let’s get serious for a moment. Saturday officially is “Earth Day.”

Now don’t expect any parades or fanfare. There won’t be any fireworks. Probably won’t even be any speeches, which can be a merciful thing.

Earth Day has been recognized for several decades. I won’t go into its history but to sum up it’s theme — “They aren’t making any more of it and we had better appreciate and protect what we’ve got.”

Now certainly Earth Day has to do with raising the level of consciousness about our environment. And in this pursuit there are the two extremes — one group posing that there’s absolutely nothing to worry about and the other group often crying something tantamount to the sky is falling. Somewhere in between are those who recognize that we must be good stewards apply a lot of common sense.

I think the contest between the two extremes may be what keeps us somewhere near an even keel as we seek to preserve this big blue marble we live on.

Now there have been times when I easily could have been identified as a “tree hugger,” perhaps with a slight twist of connotation.

There was that afternoon I had to hug the trunk of that sassafras tree when one little pig squealed, and its mama came after me with all of that tenacity of a mother protecting her young. I thought she was going to gnaw that tree into. However, I was fairly confident that if I had to move to Plan B, that I could outrun her to the next tree that had low limbs. There are times when you run as fast as you need to run.

And I once hugged a willow tree pretty tightly when I tried to swim across the creek and found I was no match for the rain-swollen current. It was like God stuck out a finger and said, “Grab hold!”

I’ve seen a few times when I couldn’t see the end of the peanut rows, but I knew that when I got there a shade tree and a water jug would be waiting.

Now I’ve never strapped myself to a tree to stop a bulldozer or a chainsaw. I’ve seen both of those devices at work and in those instances I would have begun with Plan B.

I’m somewhat removed from the farm I grew up on, but I still like to do a little planting, and I still like the smell of fresh turned earth. Every time I look back behind the tractor and see that dark, rich soil turning up beneath the harrow, I think of many years ago when I read Peal Buck’s “The Good Earth.”

I also remember in the 10th grade when one of the first big environmental storms hit. A biologist named Rachel Carson wrote a book titled, “Silent Spring,” which basically was a warning about using chemicals that did not break down in nature. Back then many people thought she was a crazed fanatic. Now we embrace her wisdom.

We may have noticed that in the issues of environment there are those who cultivate parallel political agendas — not because they are overly concerned about water and air quality or the preservation of topsoil but more to win a game they are playing. Still, sometimes good things even come from ulterior motives.

As various forces have raised the level of consciousness about our environment, much as been done to prevent further erosion in that venue and to fix bad things that had come about before. I’ve always maintained that every day is “Earth Day.” But I suppose, like other special recognitions, it deserves its own number on a calendar.

And I think in all of our considerations about our earth, that fact that “they aren’t making any more of it” is very sobering. In that regard, we must all be environmentalists. It’s just a matter of time, place and degree.

(Dwain Walden is editor/publisher of The Moultrie Observer, 985-4545. E-mail: dwain.walden@gaflnews.com)

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