Earth Day Dos and Don'ts

The Magnolias in Brooklyn
The Magnolias in Brooklyn

It's Earth Day and I'm keeping things real simple.  I plan to spend the day near Prospect Park.  In fact, I plan to go the Botanical Gardens and stand in wonder at the cherry blossoms [I may be too late for that, but it's the green thought that counts. Right?].  Better yet, I advise all Root readers to pick up those legs and go somewhere and appreciate some trees, or at least a body of water, or at least go to a gallery where there's a painting of a tree.  Or at least sit down in front of your computer and click on the image of a tree and THINK about that.


I will NOT spend my day walking up and down the streets of Brooklyn stepping over banana peelings, soda bottles, cigarettes and spit.  Yes, I said, “spit”.  What's up with all the brothers spitting on cement?  At times it feels like some form of aggressive, urban space-claiming; other times it feels like folks are suffering from mucus overload.  Not surprising if you live in a city where the lungs must fight off radiator steam and fumes from three international airports on a daily.  Look, if you're going to spit, spit in the grass for crissakes, you know, help the planet.

I also plan to spend the day eating free range and chemical-free foods [my usual mantra].  I will not sit in a restaurant filled to the rafters by meat-eating black folks who can care less whether a chicken spent his life in a cage waiting for some farmer to wring its neck.  No, I want to dine among brothers and sisters who appreciate the good earthly karma of a chicken that's able to live its life in the open air and THEN have its neck wrung.  Now that I think of it having one's neck wrung is bad karma for the Earth no matter how you look at it. I’m going to have to think about that one.

I will NOT spend the day thinking about the time I was living in Los Angeles and woke up to a burning red sky and a shower of ash.   Some fool deliberately set fire to the hills above Griffith Park and sent animals and people fleeing for their lives.  What’s up with these idiots?  Somebody needs to grab some of these derelicts by the shoulders and SCREAM:  it’s not about you!  There are billions of others on the planet! Look, I believe as long as people continue to invest in a lifestyle [food, clothes, entertainment] that isn't designed to nurture, but only consume then, hey, people will continue to care little about the environment.  How's the saying go?  "If you don't care what happens to you, how can you care what happens to anything else?"

So… today I will continue to drop my banana peelings in trash bins, eat chemical-free cuisine, stand in awe at the blooming trees, harass my beautiful black people for smoking, drinking in excess, and using terms of endearment that hits the soul like cruelty.  Yeh, I'm talking about the "N", "B" and "F" words.  I really believe once we get serious about our well-beings then Mother Earth will be in good hands.

Keith Josef Adkins is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and social commentator.