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‘Eaarth’ Gay on ‘Eaarth’ Day 2010 April 22, 2010

Posted by Jill S. Schneiderman in 'Eaarth' Day, Buddhist concepts, climate change, contemplative practice, earth community, environmental justice, LGBT concerns, Vassar College.

Sometimes I feel blasé about Earth Day because I grow tired of talk without action. As a bujugeoscientist (that’s a Buddhist, Jewish, geoscientist) I’m inclined towards Right Speech and Right Action among the steps of the eightfold-path. As a result, I am unmoved by the verbiage of Earth Day.

Founded with good intentions by Senator Gaylord Nelson forty years ago today, it was designed as an environmental “teach-in” to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s environment. But I think it’s time for the speechifying (and partying that sometimes goes with it) to be supplanted by serious (right) action.

So, I’m pleased to share my delight today at having stumbled upon a new organization, OUT for Sustainability that aims to engage and mobilize the LGBT community around progressive environmental thinking. In my opinion, environmentalists like those running Earth Day events can learn plenty from LGBT activists who have had to mobilize swiftly to fight life-threatening illness and counter gross civil rights injustices.

The current state of Eaarth should move Eaarthlings as the AIDS-crisis moved LGBT activists. Started in 2009, OUT for Sustainability seems to me to represent the type of alliances this planet and its living beings need now. My queer Vassar College students get this connection; for example, they are OUT working on advanced degrees in epidemiology and environmental science; serving as educators about climate change; directing films about the effects of Hurricane Katrina; and promoting organizations that focus on issues of environmental justice, including food justice and health.

Thank you students! Thank you OUT for Sustainability. On Eaarth Day 2010, this Eaarth Gay feels inspired.


1. Ilene Cutler - April 22, 2010

I heard Bill McKibben on the Roundtable this morning. I’m sure he’d appreciate the urgency of OUT for Sustainability and the sensibility of the LGBT movement to not waste one more minute. He echoed your thoughts and thoroughly drove home the point of the critical situation our planet is in now. Not for our grandchildren to worry about-but for us to worry about- right now… the warmest Jan-Mar on record, the melting of the ice, acidic ocean, etc. EMERGENCY. Perhaps it is our knowledge and action that will make a difference- certainly your influence on the Vassar students is a huge step in the right direction. Teaching us all to be mindful of what matters and to take the action necessary to halt the destruction of our sacred planet. You got me going Jill! Thanks!

2. Jill S. Schneiderman - April 22, 2010

Thanks Ilene. I am so glad to hear that McKibben was on WAMC.org’s roundtable

3. Marya - April 22, 2010

Love this! Action now! Some of us just have to be content writing about it. But if we can even change one mind…

4. Judith Nichols - April 22, 2010

Nice Jill–and Ilene and Marya! You writing does what environmental writing needs to do in terms of balancing alarm with action. I’m going to kick off my work at the computer early and go see if I can get the gay compost in our back yard working better! Judy

5. Ellie Leonardsmith - April 26, 2010

Thanks, Jill! I’ve been thinking a lot about connections between LGBT issues and environmental justice lately… mostly because I’m finishing my Master’s of Environmental Studies without having read/written about how LGBT issues connect to environmentalism once in the past two years. It’s something I want to explore further, as both are important to me… Anyway, thanks again!

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