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Renewing Our Vows to Save Earth

Remember Earth Day? It’s all over now but the polluting. I’m collecting Earth Day nostalgia here. Remember your vows to drive less, water your lawn less, eat lower on the food chain. How are you doing? Phone: 1-500-EAT DIRT.

I was born again on Earth Day. I’ll tell you about it, and then you can recycle this column or wrap it around your water heater.

My town celebrated Earth Day a day early. My town is infamous for being a little offbeat. According to a recent poll, 37% of the people in my town have had sex with a ghost.

My town used to be called The People’s Republic of Berkeley. Now, it is simply Planet Berkeley.

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Earth Day Minus One started out on Planet Berkeley much as it did in your town. I was driving my daughter to her softball game. She would end up hitting a homer that day for Plywood and Lumber Supplies. But they would still lose to Quantum Consulting.

On the way to the park, she said, “Do I have to go to that stupid Earth Day festival with you after the game?” It was not what I had hoped for. I turned on the radio and heard something like:

“For the children’s sake, don’t pollute. This Earth Day message was brought to you by the good folks at Douse Chemical, where we make people green.”

We picked up Sarah Wilson, 11, for the baseball game. “I know someone who’s going to Earth Day,” she said. “My friend’s mother is dragging her.”

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I left the game and was driving home when my car was stopped by a man dressed as garbage. It was the Berkeley Earth Day Parade, a cross between situationalist art and hometown pride. Kind of like: “Leave It to Fellini.”

Leading the parade were the nursery school kids, whose parents can still tell them what to do. They were dressed like trees in greenface and covered with branches. They were followed by a squad of tykes on bikes--moms and dads pedaling, kids in backpacks, bike seats and bike carriers.

On one float, a woman scantily dressed as Mother Earth stood inside a globe doing her own weird dance thing. The man dressed as garbage ran up to a car full of bleached blondes who had wandered onto the parade route. (They were probably refugees from one of those towns with obedient kids and manicured lawns.) He threw himself on the hood of their car and started screaming, “Save the planet! Save the planet!”

I know what they were thinking: Send him back to Mars.

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The top float prize should have gone to the most unique form of alternative energy I’ve ever seen. It was a car with a woman in black leather and chain jewelry riding on the roof. She was cracking a whip lightly on the backs of four strong men in loin cloths who were actually pulling the vehicle.

On Earth Day morning, I woke up and looked into the back yard. Two strange lumps appeared to be moving in the tall, unkempt weeds that I like to think of as our Native Plants Area. The man dressed as garbage would feel right at home here.

The lumps were smaller than dogs. They were furry and speckled. They couldn’t stand up. Two baby fawns had been born in our back yard.

I woke the girls, and we spent Earth Day staring out the window. Sometime when we looked away, the fawns disappeared, and we saw a proud doe walking down the street toward the regional park.

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I took it as an Earth Day sign to let Mother Nature do her own wild thing. You don’t find baby fawns on your cultivated lawns. Here on Planet Berkeley, we’re saving the urban wilderness.


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