Moderation in All Earth Day Things

We have all heard the expression, “Moderation in all things.” Among the first to espouse this philosophy was Aristotle, as expressed in his “Doctrine of the Mean.” (That’s mathematical average “mean,” not nasty “mean.”) In short, the wisdom being imparted by this adage is: Don’t overdo or under-do things – beware of the extremes.
In honor of Earth Day 2010, Jim Tankersley of the LA Times today has a “Q&A” with Denis Hayes, who was one of the leaders for the first Earth Day, 40 years ago:,0,1440701.story
In this piece, Tankersley notes that among the outcomes of the first Earth Day were the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency. Although Tankersley fails to note it, I will for you: these were all signed into law by one Richard Millhous Nixon – so much for Democrats being the only ones interested in the environment!
Hayes seems to feel that far more work still needs to be done to “save” our planet. He laments that, via the political/legislative process in Washington, proposed bills have “been weakened” to the point that they are “not really worth anything.” Others might differ, suggesting that current bills under consideration will significantly damage the economy of the country, and yield questionable benefits to the environment.
No one except a fool or a true villain would want our planet damaged in any significant way. That would be one of the extremes away from which Aristotle would warn us. But what is the other extreme? Sadly, many fail to acknowledge that an opposite extreme even exists. I believe that it does, in the form of overzealous pursuit of rules, regulations, laws, law suits, punitive actions, fines, imprisonment, prohibitions, and restrictions that are intended to “save” our planet.
On Earth Day 2010, I urge us all to pursue moderation in our pursuit of the noble goal of preserving our precious planet Earth.
(Today’s comic is from Aislin of the Montreal Gazette, found also in today’s LA Daily News.)

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