I was reading the latest issue of Greenpeace magazine when I came across an article entitled "Just Another Day."
"Remember Earth Day 1990?" it said. "As we suspected, its green glow barely lasted through the spring. By October, when the 101st U.S. Congress adjourned, it had turned a dull gray."
"No surprises, really," the Greenpeace editors wrote. "We were a little skeptical from the start." They went on to detail a few of Congress's anti-environmental moves -- watering down a bill that would have required companies to keep records of toxic pesticides; renewing a law that permits federal lands to be sold to mining companies for $2.50 an acre; and a few more.
It made me angry to read that Congress is still ignoring the will and welfare of the people.
But I was equally upset by the attitude of the Greenpeace writers. How can they have the arrogance to say "I told you so?" Earth Day wasn't a test. It was an opportunity -- a chance for millions of people to become active participants in the environmental movement. And it worked. I think its effect is just beginning to be felt.
It seems that the average American is caught between a government that won't take our environmental concerns seriously and hard-core skeptics who belittle our efforts.
This has to change. But how?
I have an idea. What if you and I got together and picked a single issue -- focused on something we wanted to change this year -- and then made it happen? What if we made it a point to show the politicians and skeptics that there's real strength behind our desire to protect the planet?
We can do it. EarthWorks is currently the most widely syndicated environmental column in America, with a potential audience of millions of people.
Here's the plan: You pick the subject; send in a postcard with the issue that you'd like to see us tackle. It could be something like persuading the White House to recycle, use energy-efficient appliances and lighting, and switch to water-saving devices.
Or it could be getting Congress to take ozone depletion more seriously.
About a month from now, I'll count up the cards you send and see which issue has attracted the most interest. Then I'll let you know the results -- and we'll see what we can accomplish together.
Address the postcard to John Javna, EarthWorks, P.O. Box 419149, Kansas City, Mo. 64141. Because of the volume of mail, Mr. Javna is unable to reply personally.