Earth Days: The Seeds of a Revolution
American Experience Series
American Experience Series
April 19, 2010
Source: Received for Preview from WGBH
“It is now all the rage, but can you remember when everyone in America was not “Going Green”? AMERICAN EXPERIENCE’s Earth Days looks back to the dawn and development of the modern environmental movement through the extraordinary stories of the era’s pioneers — among them Former Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall, biologist/Population Bomb author Paul Ehrlich, Whole Earth Catalog founder Stewart Brand, Apollo Nine astronaut Rusty Schweickart, and renewable energy pioneer Hunter Lovins.” (from PBS.com).I remember when I was in grade school, about 15 years ago, we would do a special project on Earth Day, or plant a tree, or something symbolic like that – but after that bell rang, I didn’t have a clue what Earth Day was. And I was perfectly content to keep it that way. This held true until I received the preview from WGBH. My immediate thought upon looking at the cover was, “Earth Day…this will be fun”, but I was so wrong. I learned SO much from this episode. In school we spent very little time learning about the 60’s-80’s - we would highlight some stuff about the presidents and then move on. This episode taught me more than my 4 years of high school did about this time period.
The very beginning and the very ending of a movie or tv show can really make it or break it – and this one definitely did it for me. The opening of the episode showed clips from every president since Kennedy making speeches about Earth Day. I found this so interesting because I hadn’t seen or heard half of them make speeches before. I also thought that it was a great way to show that it is still an important enough event that it continues to be relevant over the course of 40+ years. As with any decent documentary there are experts. The experts for this episode were from a diverse background: from politicians, ecologist, authors, liberals, and conservatives – among others. It really put things into perspective to see people from across the spectrum really believing in the message of Earth Day. At the end there was a “where are they now?” segment about the experts. Throughout the movie you got to see and hear about things that they had done for the movement “back in the day”, but this last segment really brought it around to show you what they are still doing for the cause.
Like I said previously, I went into watching this film with a very preconceived notion of what it would be about. I expected it to really focus on Earth Day itself – but surprisingly, the actual celebrations of Earth Day were relatively minor. The major focus was what leads up to the creation of Earth Day and the Environmental Movement. Absolutely not what I expected – but I think that was why I enjoyed the film much more than I thought. While watching, I compared this episode to the previous episode I had seen, Dolley Madison: America’s First Lady. And while they are two TOTALLY different subjects, I thoroughly enjoyed them both. I liked Dolley Madison because it was something that I already loved about an important historical figure, while Earth Days I enjoyed because we are really still living it right now.
I think, like many things, Earth Day is again becoming a “fashionable” thing to do. I’m always told, everything goes in cycles and, at least for me, it has. With all of these attempts to “go green” cropping up everywhere, you can’t help but be an advocate of Earth Day.
You can find all kinds of additional content at the PBS website. If you missed the episode, it will likely be available shortly on their website for viewing.
Copyright © 2010 by The Maiden’s Court