Many years ago in California, I had the privilege of meeting a person who was often shown in commercials to tug at the heart-strings of us all, to treat our Planet or Mother Earth better.
This man and I were introduced one night at the Artists and Models Ball in the late 1980’s.
I had been sent to cover the event for the Entertainment section of the LA newspaper I worked for at the time.
Meeting him that night, I was struck by his gentle, kind demeanor.
He truly was, exactly like the person he portrayed in the Environmental commercials for so many years.
His name was Iron Eyes Cody, or as those of us in California loved to call him, The Crying Indian.
He made a huge impact, just as he and this commercial were meant to do, on the status of a beleaguered Earth and his
commercial was ALWAYS a central part of any California Earth Day event.
I will not discuss the controversy over his ancestry, it is not why I admired his work.
What this man did then and will always do, is to make me aware of the irresponsible, often cruel way that Humans treat this place that they owe everything to, while showing her such little regard or respect.
What better way to shake up Environmental ignorance and empathy, than the image of an Indigenous person disgusted and broken-hearted over what humans do and have done to Mother Earth?
This commercial and the campaign worked, and began a movement that started in California and spread throughout the country, to change or at least rethink, our bad behavior.
But that was then, what have we done as a species since then, to lessen our heavy footprint on this Planet?
Many groups and organizations in the United States are working tirelessly to reverse the damage already done, some are successful, some are not.
The point is, that because of Earth Day and the promotional awareness that it brings with it, Environmental Issues remain on the table.
An example, this morning on our local news, was a story that made me smile.
Darden Restaurants Inc., whose home office is in Orlando, has begun a brilliant project.
At several of the restaurants in their chain, they are saving food scraps in a project that has them working together with Organic Matters, who is a local organic recycler.
These scraps are then being used to feed chicken and cows.
The result of this new plan, is that less food will end up in our land fills and many more animals will have a better, more natural food source.
It is a win-win.
Can the rest of the country consider picking this great idea up?
I have faith in us, with a little encouragement, we humans do try to get it right.
So, on this Earth Day, if you eat out somewhere, perhaps you might ask the owner or manager of the place, if they have heard of this idea and if they would be willing to follow suit?
We have nothing to lose and hearing about all of this, the Crying Indian may just be smiling from his final resting place.
God Bless you Iron Eyes, you were such a special man with a giant, gentle heart.
I am grateful to have known you, if only for just one night.
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