May 1, 2022- I watched a video of a climate change activist being interviewed by a prominent social change agent, whom I have recently befriended online. The session itself was broadcast on Earth Day, and suffice it to say, I have been so largely occupied with the secondary effects of said climate change, over the past two weeks, that sitting down and listening to the very cogent observations of Peter Kalmus was something that stayed on the back burner until now.
Many of us might be tempted to treat Earth Day, May Day and other social change-themed events as we treat so many other public days: With a view towards entertainment. The people of western Europe had a practice of dancing first around a live tree, then around a secured branch that stood erect, in mid-Spring, which eventually became established as May 1. Because it was fertility-based and came to involve sexual activity, the practice was banned in Puritan communities, both in Europe and North America. The fertility aspect took a back seat, in many cases, to the hedonistic. May Day has more recently become a day for social activism, especially regarding labour issues. Earth Day retains its overall conservation focus, perhaps because there is a dichotomy, even among those living in comfort, between focusing on the well-being of the planet and letting loose in celebration.
While I hardly see harm in finding joy in life, including an element of service, to the planet and to humanity, in our observances will go a long way towards mitigating the damage already done. Performing an act of service each day is even better. There is plenty of time for both.
I am grateful to Marianne Williamson, with whom I have only recently become acquainted, for raising issues that strike at the core of our collective being. We are all in a process of growth, even if some do not consciously focus on it. We are all going around the same maypole.