What is Earth Day? Happy celebration of planting trees? Yes, and more. In 2009, Earth Day poses a new challenge. It's questions like: should we store CO2 under the ocean? How we respond will determine our fate.
On one side, we can do NIMBY or NIMO and say: Not In My Ocean, too risky. On the other side, we might find a viable technology for reversing climate change by storing CO2 underneath the ocean.
How we settle on questions like this will determine our future. I think Earth Day 2009 presents us a challenge and an opportunity. Will we grow and change and solve problems?
Or will we atavistically look backwards for our models of problem solving?
It would be easy to look at things like banning DDT and say we need more of that kind of firm action stopping the bad people or bad things. But in this complex world, there are few if any simple answers and we won't be saved by a brave hero. This ain't no cowboy movie.
I don't know if ocean disposal of CO2 is a good idea or not. But I do believe that if we reject such options dogmatically, we're not likely to solve our looming problems and move forward into a better future.
So for me, Earth Day 2009 will involve a celebration and happy-making. And a redoubled effort to advance productive problem-solving as heart of the modern environmental movement.