Happy Earth Day to you

Happy birthday to Planet Earth.

Yes, according to the earthling calendar, April 22 is Earth Day, so allow me to dish up a heaping tectonic plate of metaphorical Earth Day cake.

The earthday boy doesn’t look a day over 4.54 billion years old — created by a supreme benevolent being, or perhaps formed from highly charged bits of matter and a nebulous cloud of gas.

Sure he’s wheezing a bit (from smog), battling a receding hairline (deforestation) and running a bit of a fever (global warming). And its risk of cancer is greater than ever (ozone deterioration).

My quadrennial State of the Planet address also reveals a rash of psycho weather patterns battering coastal communities worldwide, with some blaming the carnage on climate change. State of the planet? We have nothing to fear but the biosphere itself.

Science has enabled us to better understand our planet, to cruise the universe and take small steps on the moon. But we are only beginning to make the giant leap toward respecting our home turf enough to reverse a long, shortsighted cycle of self-destruction.

The Earth has taken good care of us humans. So now that it is getting on in years, we must take better care of the Earth.

For some reason, this concept seems easier for children to understand. And fortunately, many of today’s kids are fascinated with the idea of recycling and caring for their planet. They learn in school that it’s fun. Natural. Necessary. Then they come home and teach their parents.

Their carbon footprints are smaller, but their hearts and minds seem more open to regarding Earth as a living, breathing miracle.

As we breathe in that sweet, free oxygen, Earth Day helps us look at the bigger picture — beyond our kitchen and living room, neighborhood and town, beyond state and national boundaries.

This picture, captured by astronauts and orbiting satellites, is that of a beautiful life-giving planet. Peaceful and quiet. Home.

Yes — like mothers and fathers, veterans and presidents, goblins and lovebirds — Earth is recognized with its very own day.

A day to open our minds, and all of our senses, to what a truly precious and finite gift we all share — here on a special planet located just 93 million miles from the sun. 

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