Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Will I See a Few Million of You in D.C. on April 22nd?

Earth Day Flag
By John McConnell (flag designer) NASA (Earth photograph)
 - The Earth seen from Apollo 17, Public Domain,

There's an effort to follow up last Saturday's Women's March with a protest about Donald Trump's missing tax returns on April 15th, but there seems to be a more obvious target with mass appeal, Earth Day, which occurs exactly one week later on Saturday, April 22. This seems especially appropriate today, when the new resident of the White House is signing executive orders in favor of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines.

The first Earth Day in 1970 not only attracted the support of over 20 million people worldwide, but it led to actual results. A Republican President, Richard Nixon, signed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and established the Environmental Protection Agency by the end of that year. Every single one of these important environmental protections is now under challenge by the current president and the increasingly right-wing GOP Congress.

As much as some of us have been concerned with Donald Trump's missing tax returns (search for #TrumpsMissingReturns to see how often @TrueBlueLiberal tweeted about them), they will not attract millions of people to Washington, D.C. They will not attract interest around the world. And even if April 15th demonstrations goaded Trump into releasing 30 years of complete returns (and they won't), what concrete effect would that have now? We already know that he's used every trick and loophole to pay as little as possible. His voters don't care that he's a con man and a tax cheat, and neither do a lot of non-partisan or low-information voters.
1970s Ecology Flag
Public Domain,

An Earth Day backed and organized by all the major environmental groups would definitely attract millions from around the world. It would not necessarily be seen as a partisan attack by disappointed Hillary voters. Climate change and sustainable sources of energy are major international issues, pipelines and fracking are combustible national issues, many conservative suburban voters are concerned about the welfare of songbirds and monarch butterflies and bees, and Earth Day's universal stress on the Earth seems a perfect foil for the current president's parochial stress on "America First."

Imagine the size of the protest that could be generated by a coordinated effort from Greenpeace and the Sierra Club and the NRDC and Audubon Society and the Earth Day Network and Nature Conservancy and WWF and National Wildlife Federation and the Environmental Defense Fund and the Humane Society and Defenders of Wildlife and Sea Shepherd and the Ocean Conservancy and the Earth Policy Institute and the thousands of other national, international, and local environmental organizations founded since the first Earth Day in 1970. It could easily make the impressive Women's March look small by comparison.

Let's get started. Given a choice between returning to D.C. on April 15th or April 22nd, I choose Earth Day! See you there.

UPDATE 1/28/17:

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