Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day brings reality check

Happy Earth Day.

AKA, Day 3 of my reality check of “back to work.” The contrast this time between work and vacation may be a new record for me. Last week in St. Lucia, I had no choice: no cell phone, no blackberry, no email, no newspaper, no TV. For six days.

I had terrible withdrawal and guilt -- for at least a half-day. Then? Well, vacation mode kicked in. I read two books, caught up on at least a half-dozen New Yorker magazines, sipped those frozen concoctions, had rambling conversations and decompressed. And, eventually, started thinking about all the stories out there that we as journalists still have to find, report, expose, track, research and share.

Ah, to escape the daily crunch of budgets, personnel crises, 1,122 emails (yep, that’s what I had upon return) and so on. But that seems so long ago….

Today’s Herald welcomes Earth Day 2009 with a special section looking at everything from where we’ve come since the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970 (progress, yes, but pitifully short of where we need to be), to the top green developments and natural beauties in Manatee County.

Reporter Grace Gagliano listened in on a teleconference Tuesday with Van Jones, special adviser to the U.S. Council on Environmental Quality, who outlined some goals for the $5 billion earmarked for economic stimulus money. That's in stark contrast to the story on offshore drilling coming out of Tallahassee, where our elected House officials were convinced by the oil and gas industry to vote, 17-6, for a bill that opens our coast to exploration.

-- Joan

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