Earth Day 2017: Environmental activism is more important now than ever |

Earth Day 2017: Environmental activism is more important now than ever

The Park Record editorial, April 22-25, 2017


One of the most popular movie stars at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was a gray-haired, 69-year-old politician whose last blockbuster was released more than a decade ago. But former Vice President Al Gore proved he could still stir up a passionate response in Park City. In January, his follow up to the surprise 2006 hit “An Inconvenient Truth” premiered on the festival’s opening night and earned a standing ovation.

While his first film sounded a dire alarm, “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” due to be released in theaters this summer, offers a more hopeful picture. While outlining the critical environmental challenges that remain, it highlights the giant strides that have been made around the world.

But while the tone of Gore’s sequel is intended to be optimistic, the mood at the Eccles Center was somber. As fate would have it, the film premiered on the eve of president Donald Trump’s inauguration.

During his campaign for the presidency, Trump made his intentions abundantly clear — to roll back environmental regulations and dismantle the EPA. After his unlikely win, it seems that Gore’s ceaseless efforts to cement America’s reputation as a leader in the fight against climate change may be doomed.

But in the Q&A after the film, Gore was unbowed and exhorted his fans to remain faithful to the cause.

On this Earth Day, many Parkites are expected to be following that advice. A Science March has been planned as an antidote to Trump’s attacks on funding for scientific research. Speakers will talk about climate change and there will be a fundraiser to support the community’s recycling efforts.

Of course, local efforts to create a more sustainable community won’t end when the sun goes down Saturday night. Parkites are committed to continuing their environmental initiatives regardless of the Trump administration’s misguided policies. Federal bureaucrats may be blind to the evidence of climate change but we are not.

Last week, two moose ambled right down the middle of Main Street, a sight that was greeted by a crowd of delighted onlookers. But on closer inspection, wildlife experts revealed that the moose, like others around the country, are in trouble. Their mangy coats and skeletal frames, caused by an infestation of ticks, are yet another warning sign of climate change.

The ailing moose, the receding snowpack, smog and worries about water quality are scientific proof that our environment is at a critical turning point. If our state and federal officials can’t see that, it is time for them to go.