Saturday, April 22, 2006

Happy Earth Day!

I've been a little sparse with entries lately - my apologies but things are hectic, even more so than usual. Happy Earth Day! For those of you who didn't know, today is the day we celebrate the earth and focus on ways to take better care of her so that she may still be around for our kids and grandchildren. I walked for the third year in the Kansas City Earthwalk, sponsored by Bridging the Gap (a local non-profit org. here in KC). Unfortunately, today was also the AIDS walk downtown and I had to choose which one to do this year. I don't know who is responsible for that planning, but I hope they fall on different days next year so I don't have to make that choice again. I chose to do the earthwalk for a couple of reasons, but the main one was that it's so much less popular. I don't know why that is - you'd think that people would be able to back up environmental causes pretty easily whereas AIDS can get to be a controversial topic. Or maybe it's not anymore.

AIDS used to be seen as a "gay" issue, and sometimes it still is, but we've reached a new level of the epidemic where it's become more of a global problem, particularly in "third world" countries. I think if it's seen as a poverty issue rather than a "lifestyle" issue, it gets better support from fundraisers. Isn't that interesting? When it was just gay people and drug addicts dying, people wanted to condemn and stigmatize. Now it's an acceptable issue to talk about. And yet when I walked in the AIDS walk last year, it was still a largely gay contingency. There were a lot of church groups and corporate teams - it was a very "fashionable" things to be a part of.

The Earthwalk doesn't seem to have that kind of image, and I'm not sure whay that is. Just form walking around, I would estimate that there were about 200 people at the walk this morning. 200 people is quite a few but nowhere near as much as the AIDS walk, I'm sure. And where people in the AIDS walk raise hundreds of dollars each, I doubt many people raised more than $25 for the Earthwalk. So what is it? Do people just assume that the earth will always be here? That we don't need to do anything because nature will adapt to whatever we dish out? Or is it somehow more important to care about diseases because people are dying rather than plants and animals? I've always been a sucker for the underdog and in this case, that was the Earth Day celebration - but I hope that we can get to place where it's not a competition between these issues.

No comments: