Nature photography, political rants, and Martyman laughs from the ten-time award-winning author of "Cool Creatures, Hot Planet," "Endangered Edens," and the "Time Is Irreverent" series.

Thank an evironmentalist

Marty Essen

This is how I begin Endangered Edens:

“I dedicate this book to environmental heroes everywhere: you may not have holidays named in your honor, and strangers may not approach you in airports to thank you for your service, but the world is a better place because of your efforts.”

Today I will add that it saddens me how politicians in the United States—aided by a brilliant media campaign and scare tactics—successfully convince their constituents that we must spend more and more on our military (The U.S. currently spends roughly 50% of its discretionary budget on the military—more than the next nine most powerful countries combined). On top of that we are often asked to donate to various military fundraisers and are reminded (especially at sporting events and in airports) to give thanks to those who we already support with our tax dollars.

Environmentalists, on the other hand, work largely for little or nothing and are often scorned for what they do. And unlike the myth that the military fights for our freedom (we haven’t fought that kind of war since WWII), environmentalists do work now that measurably protects our future.

So on this day, let’s work toward adjusting our priorities. Thank an environmentalist for all the work he or she has done and encourage your elected representatives to take some of the money wasted on our bloated military and channel it toward renewable energy research and development.

Happy Earth Day! And let’s make Earth Day a Federal holiday (like Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Presidents Day).

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