Editor's column about Earth Day

Happy Earth Day! That’s for you readers who get your paper on Wednesday, for everyone else - I hope you had a happy earth day.

The first Earth Day was on April 22, 1970. I was in high school, and while it is hard to remember that far back, I do remember reading Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring in school. That might have been in 1970. Maybe our teacher was excited about the first Earth Day, or maybe her students read that book every year.

In case you haven’t heard of Silent Spring, I found this description on Wikipedia: “Silent Spring is an environmental science book written by Rachel Carson and published by Houghton Mifflin on September 27, 1962.[1] The book documented the detrimental effects on the environment—particularly on birds—of the indiscriminate use of pesticides.”

When it was published the book was attacked by the chemical companies, but got Americans to think about environmental concerns. It actually led to the ban on DDT and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA.)

I know, the EPA has a bad reputation, among many people - accused of overstepping its authority and holding up projects. And I’ve heard examples where it does seem to be extreme. On the other hand, I am a bit of a tree-hugger myself and am pretty much in favor of efforts to clean up our environment.

I’ve been watching this whole “buffer strip” issue that is in our state legislature this spring. I read the opinion pieces and letters to the editor in this and other newspapers. I don’t like the idea of farm chemicals flowing into our streams and lakes. I also don’t like the idea of chemicals that in-town homeowners use on their lawns washing into our lake. Neither one is good.

I hope our state lawmakers can come to the best conclusion for our environment on this issue. They might even want to investigate enforcing the laws that already exist to address farm run-off.

You’ve heard it before - we are to be stewards of this earth. That’s what Earth Day is all about. Here in Sleepy Eye our school students adopt the parks and clean them up each spring in observance of Earth Day. The kids enjoy the activity and I hope that means our community is growing kids who think about how they can be good stewards of the earth.

That title, Silent Spring? It referred to the sound of no birds singing if they were killed by pesticides. Think about that when you enjoy the sweet song of birds early each morning this spring, and hopefully all the springs to come.