Dude, Where's My Planet?

Whatever happened to Earth Day, people? Remember the '90s, when we were all worked up about developing solar energy and finding a solution to the solid waste crisis? We know, we know, the hippie look isn't trendy, and being an environmentalist is passé. Do y'all even recycle anymore?

So-called "liberal" ideas -- like preventing the planet from becoming a boiling cesspool of toxic waste -- make sense, so why, why, why do "liberal" public figures seem utterly predestined to commit political suicide? It all started when weenie Al Gore positioned himself as the figurehead of the environmental movement. No one wanted to follow that nerd! The emergence of jam bands, the wearing of Birkenstocks, and the prominence of hemp necklaces didn't help things any. Then Ben & Jerry sold their company to The Man, and it was enough to make progressives want to stick their heads in the ashy remains of Chernobyl or cut their wrists with glass from unrecycled bottles so they could go hug the Great Tree in the Sky. It's no wonder that Bush, ahem, "won" the election in 2000. Despite his raging inability to string together coherent sentences, he aligned himself with sexy, shiny things -- like cowboy spurs and bombs. This year, Dubya is likely to steamroll his way back to the White House again, what with John Kerry reciting "The Love Song of Alfred J. Prufrock" to reporters and all.

Well, enough negativity! This thing called nature that's rumored to exist outside of our gated communities and strip malls? It's not just about destructive hurricanes and sea lice. It's about pretty things, like sawgrass and manatees! C'mon, you care about them. Surely, you do! Now go out and celebrate Earth Day with the few people 'round here who still let their green freak flags fly. On Thursday -- Earth Day proper -- stop by Fort Lauderdale City Hall (100 N. Andrews Ave.) to make recycled art and play a giant musical instrument made of throwaway scraps. That evening, catch Earthman Lanny Smith and the Planet Earth Project, who play the Clematis by Night festival (Clematis Street and Flagler Drive, West Palm Beach) at 6 p.m. Their performances are like "a jazz-world music theatrical journey... celebrating our Earth and the power of people to make a difference." On Saturday, April 24, "meet the animals and learn why it is so important to conserve the land and waters we share with them" at the Museum of Discovery and Science (401 SW Second St., Fort Lauderdale). After all, "Earth is the water planet." The event lasts from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; call 954-467-6637. Or go to Okeeheelee Park (7715 Forest Hill Blvd., West Palm Beach) for an Earth Day celebration featuring a bird walk, a deer walk, and a butterfly walk. Call 561-966-6600. You don't have to wear a batik sarong or dab on patchouli to participate in any of these activities -- we promise! But if you do opt to stay home, watch Armageddon and guzzle beers, will you at least drink microbrews and put the empties in the recycling bin? Please?

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Deirdra Funcheon