Celebrated on this date in 1970, the first Earth Day prompted a half-century of environment-conscious efforts that have resulted in what most would consider needed changes and improvements on our planet. It was certainly a turning point both culturally and individually for thousands then and many more since April 22, 1970.
In Philadelphia, the occasion was marked with a giant concert in Fairmount Park, as the linked clip from CBS News shows. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5v_2nTvAcSU&feature=share&fbclid=IwAR14ti-qIIQvJuAuXJgLBOSyyUl5EWGrUgjsj0AG5tvXPDwUubBzR_0W4yA&app=desktop
A senior at Temple University that spring, I spent the day getting my draft physical. That self-absorbed 21-year-old grumbled about not getting to listen to Ian and Sylvia sing across town that fine spring afternoon. For many of those around me that day, the draft physical became the first step on a journey toward other life-altering experiences.
At the time, we can’t know the long-term effects of particular moves we make.
When Roger Guay became a Maine Game Warden in 1986, he had no idea how that decision would impact his life. He wanted to preserve and protect wildlife areas in the state of Maine—and the creatures, human and other, who encounter trouble in the wild. His respect and love for the natural environment is evident in his memoir, A Good Man with a Dog, written with Kate Clark Flora. (Skyhorse Publishing, 2016) https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/A-Good-Man-with-a-Dog/Roger-Guay/9781510704800
A “natural-born storyteller,” as novelist Paul Doiran calls him, Guay mesmerizes the reader, his string of sometimes jaw-dropping adventures ranging from hilarious to frightening. His is a book that sneaks up on you, making you realize that the simply-told, earnest tales accrue in gravitas, as he deals with the profound relationship between human and dog, as well as the reality of post-traumatic stress.
The book is very much about rescue, and by its end, readers realize that because rescuer Guay was open to those around him, he was able to be rescued—to survive the dark night of the soul that he experienced after his New Orleans recovery work in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Guay’s approach to helping Mother Earth inspires me. Many of you are looking for good reads during this pandemic, and I hope that you’ll check out A Good Man with a Dog.
Ned Bachus is the author of Open Admissions: What Teaching at Community College Taught Me About Learning (Wild River Books, 2017) and of the “Turning Points” weekly blog on nedbachus.com. City of Brotherly Love (Fleur-de-Lis Books), his book of stories, was awarded the 2013 IPPY Gold Medal for Literary Fiction. Bachus’s article, “Learning From Turning Points in Our Teaching Lives,” was featured in the May 2019 issue of NEA Higher Education Advocate, which reaches over 150,000 college faculty in the U.S. http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/1901eAdvocate_ThrivingFinal.pdf