- The Washington Times - Friday, May 8, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

No one who knew Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson would ever say that the late governor and U.S. senator “regarded man as a busy monster” (“Arbor vs. Earth Day,” Editorial, Tuesday). I worked alongside him for seven years and remember him as a warm and engaging man who believed deeply in humans’ ability to do great things.

That belief was part of his thinking in creating Earth Day. Mr. Nelson was confident that the American people were ahead of their representatives in Congress in wanting to take action to protect our environment for future generations. To prove that, he wanted to enable them to incite Congress to action. His plan worked.

Also baffling is why the editorial stridently pits Earth Day against Arbor Day. Both are wonderful, and both further the protection of the natural world. Earth Day encourages people to be smarter in their use of resources. Mr. Nelson wanted to see all of us tap into our old-fashioned American ingenuity to find ways to use cleaner energy and to use all forms of energy more efficiently. There is no basis whatsoever for claiming, as the editorial did, that “where Arbor Day celebrates humanity’s productive capabilities, Earth Day condemns them.”

A storyteller of the first order and a senator praised for his warm relations with colleagues of both parties,Mr. Nelson bears no resemblance to the man portrayed in your editorial. Nor does the description of Earth Day match reality.

WILLIAM H. MEADOWS

President

The Wilderness Society

Washington

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