The flyer we sent home with our kids yesterday announced that we would be celebrating Earth Day from nine until eleven in the morning today. There were plenty of grunts and grimaces at the suggestion of spending any of their precious weekend at school, but some of my students seemed to be be considering it. On the way out, I had to admonish several of the boys in my class not to take the term "flyer" literally and chuck them onto the playground for the rest of us to pick up the following day.
Meanwhile, up the hill from my house, plans were being made for a much more ambitious program, from nine until noon. I know what kind of planning it takes to get volunteers to show up for any amount of time: coordinating tools and snacks and people and all of the intricate infrastructure that drives any effort. Still, it was the "Day" part that stuck in my head as I rode my bike from the end of my school's Earth Day work party to my son's. We have accomplished a lot at both sites over the years. There are more trees at both schools. Both of these urban Oakland schools have gardens growing flowers and vegetables. Kids have planted things that are growing. My son took a bottle of Ranch dressing to school the other day to enjoy a salad that he picked himself.
It made me think of Black History Month. Why should it be confined to one month, and the shortest one of the year, at that? Women's History? Same thing. I remember the old saw about Mother's Day and Father's Day that kids whine about at some point in their lives. "Why isn't there a Kids' Day?" The answer I heard back then is the answer I use now: "Every day is Kids' Day." And so it should be for Earth Day. I don't need a free T-shirt to pick up litter. I don't need bagels and cream cheese to be coaxed into pulling a few weeds. I invite you to keep the celebration going all year 'round.