Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

It's hard to believe that 19 years ago today changed my life. Really. At the time I was a Freshman at Simmons College in Boston and went w/ my friends on a gorgeous spring day to celebrate Earth Day on the Esplanade. It was great. I felt a part of something, some sort of movement. It was that day that I decided I needed to do something for the environment and thought I could get a summer job stuffing envelopes for Greenpeace or some other organization in NYC.

About that time, my mom received a call from NJPIRG to renew her membership and mentioned to the caller that I wanted to work to protect the environment. The caller told my mom they had an office in Ridgewood that summer and that I should check it out. Of course, my mom forgot and a few weeks later I was back home, working at Annie Sez and searching the classifieds for something better. It was there that I saw the ad for Summer Jobs for the Environment w/ NJPIRG -- the same group that called to renew my mom's membership.

It's funny how certain things just stick in your brain. I remember that day and the excitement I felt as I learned about what I could be doing that summer. I remember the music that was playing, Simon & Garfunkel's America. I even remember that Eric had been left to fend for himself and conduct all the interviews b/c everyone had gone down to see Gov. Florio sign the Clean Water Enforcement Act into law. Let me tell you, I was hooked!

I spent that summer knocking on doors, talking to folks in Bergen and Passaic Counties about a Pollution Prevent Act that was before the state legislature and how NJ really needed it. I met some amazing people, including Bob who was one of the canvass directors. Bob happened to be digging thru his backpack one day and found a membership card w/ my mom's name on it. Turns out that Bob was the one who called my mom earlier that year to renew her membership.

As I said, I was hooked. After that summer, I decided that I was not meant to major in Art Management and own a gallery some day, but that I was to work in environmental politics! I turned down an internship with the board of trustees at the MFA and got a job w/ MassPIRG. That next summer, I ran a campaign office for NJPIRG in Morristown, NJ and helped pass the Pollution Prevention Act in 1991. That year, I transferred to CU-Boulder, changed my major to environmental conservation and political science, and went on to organize for several environmental groups after college. Now, here I am today, an environmental attorney tasked with enforcing our environmental laws.

It's amazing how 1 day, 1 event, can have such an impact on your life.

So, I hope everyone has a wonderful Earth Day! And with that, I'll leave you with this -- Elmo goes green . . .

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Moment of Zen - Elmo's Green
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisPolitical Humor

Oh, and I should mention that my friend and canvass director from that summer is now running for Colorado State Representative in Denver's 4th District. Check out: How could I not mention it? Go Jen!

1 comment:

Mariss said...

It's pretty cool to see how everything kind of falls into place to get you where you are supposed to be! I'm glad you're protecting our Earth!