MARTY RUSSELL: Earth apparently decides to join in this Earth Day

By Marty Russell/NEMS Daily Journal

Does anyone other than myself find it hilariously ironic that, as we approach the 40th anniversary of Earth Day on Thursday, a fourth of the globe is being held hostage by an erupting volcano spewing hot lava and ash in, of all places, Iceland? What’s next? A drought in Greenland?
Earth Day, of course, is that one day of the year when we all hop into our carbon-emitting vehicles and drive to rallys where we stand around drinking processed water out of plastic bottles while handing out flyers made from dead trees asking everyone to do their part to save the planet. The planet, meanwhile, would probably just as soon leave a big carbon footprint on our rear ends as it kicks us off.
Saving the planet is probably a good idea since most of us live here. Earth Day began back in the ’60s as a movement led by Wisconsin Sen. Gaylord Nelson to protect our natural resources because, without grass on which to graze, there would be no cows and without cows there would be no Wisconsin cheese. The first one was held in 1970 and, aside from raising awareness of environmental problems and ensuring the flow of cheese, it is credited with the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act, all of which the hue and cry in politics these days would probably love to rescind as being too much regulation and government involvement in our freedom to die of pollution while staring at the last, stuffed bald eagle.
But, apparently, the Earth has decided to get in on Earth Day this year and do some environmental cleaning of its own, namely by getting rid of as many pesky humans as possible. Think about all the earthquakes in recent weeks and months. Coincidence? Divine intervention? I think not. I think it’s just the Earth sending us a message that, hey, I appreciate the effort but you haven’t really accomplished anything meaningful in 40 years so I think I’ll give it a try.
Of course, that may be wrong. Maybe all the recent earthquakes can be attributed, as the Iranian cleric who seems to be channeling Pat Robertson said this week, to “loose” women. Can’t argue with that.
Now, as if on cue, we have a volcano erupting in Iceland, a country where warmth and consonants had previously been banned. The volcano, named Eyjafjallajokull (pronounced “Fred”), continues to clean the Earth by spewing high levels of sulphuric acid into the atmosphere which reflects sunlight and counters global warming, not to mention grounding thousands of flight which researchers now estimate has resulted in a reduction of 2.8 million tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere since just last week.
And if you don’t live near a volcano but want to see rocks falling out of the sky, there’s always meteors. The Lyrid meteor shower reaches its peak Thursday morning and Friday morning between midnight and dawn. If the volcanos and earthquakes don’t get us this Earth Day, maybe the meteors will.
Marty Russell writes a Wednesday column for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 222 Farley Hall, University MS 38677 or by e-mail at marusse1@olemiss.edu