Ok, the New Yorker magazine’s cartoon mascot didn’t really say that.
The New YorkerBut Elizabeth Kolbert, the magazine’s star journalist covering the climate crisis, has a very interesting essay on Earth Day at the front of this week’s issue. In it, she bemoans the fact that Americans seem to be unenthusiastic about the environment in general and confronting global warming in specific. She observes that this public ambivalence is infecting the government:
“…there are plenty of reasons to wonder whether serious steps to reduce carbon emissions will be taken this year or, indeed, ever. Regulating CO2 using existing laws will be a laborious, and potentially litigious, exercise. Meanwhile, the Administration has been strangely passive about trying to shape climate legislation — one reason that the Waxman bill is likely to be further watered down. Then, there’s the question of whether even an inadequate bill has the votes to pass.”
At end, Kolbert takes a jab at Earth Day itself, arguing that an event once celebrated by the counter-culture has become too mainstream to matter much:
“But Earth Day has lost its edge and, with that, the sense that a different world is possible. Even more than in 1970, what’s needed now is an outpouring that organizes itself — with millions of people and, for good measure, some stinky dead fish in the streets.”
Amen, Elizabeth. Let’s “Screw Earth Day” by taking the climate message to the streets.
Get Grist in your inbox