This morning as I was riding the subway into Manhattan, the classic 50 year old song “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke came up on my iPhone. This song was one of the most important songs of the civil rights era and continues to provide a gentle reminder that one day a change will come. Just like the change in the way white southern people thought about sharing a restaurant with a black person, thanks to the Freedom Riders, a group of civil rights activists who rode interstate buses into the segregated southern United States, change is possible even if it’s a bit too slow for my taste.
So who are today’s Freedom Riders? Greepeace activists are regularly arrested for their work and some university students recently got arrested in DC protesting the monstrosity that is the Keystone Pipeline. The NSA undoubtedly tracks what they call “eco-terrorists” and whistle-blowers under the auspice of tracking Muslims. What’s ironic is that 90% percent of terrorist attacks in America are conducted by non-Muslims. One of my all time favorite protests that resulted in an arrest was when farmers planted hemp on the DEA Headquarters’s lawn.
Unfortunately every year on Earth Day I try very hard not to be saddened by the continued destruction of the biosphere. Lately it’s more about the way people live their lives day to day with little or no connection to their environment. As I exited the subway this morning, I saw several people flick their cigarettes on the ground while I thought to myself, (to be honest my first thought was why in the hell do people still smoke cigarettes?) this person just by a very simple act clearly does not care for her own body or her immediate environment, much less the planet. Or maybe she does, but just doesn’t see the connection? Fortunately artists like Sam Cooke are always there to remind us that we can change the way people think, feel and connect to the planet, but this kind of transformation is truly “a long time coming”.