There are still beautiful places

It’s Earth Day, the 41st since 1970, though you might not know it. It didn’t make the front pages of most of today’s papers.

Earth Day was the idea of the late Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, who spent much of the 1960s trying to raise awareness about the deteriorating condition of our environment. At that time there were few, if any, air or water pollution controls, fuel efficiency was unheard-of, toxic and hazardous waste dumping was a free-for-all. Smokestacks belching out thick black smoke, wetlands being filled in for developments were all considered signs of progress and prosperity. There was no Environmental Protection Agency.

There are those who would like to turn back the clock. Conservatives in the Congress are trying to do away with the EPA .

Despite the worsening situation in Japan, the nuclear industry here is insisting it can’t happen here. It should be noted that the Japanese nuclear industry thought it couldn’t happen there, either.

A year after the Gulf oil spill, BP will resume drilling there this summer. They’re insisting that what happened before can’t happen again. But enough of this …

I like the idea of a day of observance about nature and the environment, to take some time to stop and think about where we’ve been and where we’re headed. And it doesn’t have to be all bleak. The Nature Conservancy has the right idea – it should be a day of celebration. So today , or this weekend –

Get out and picnic!