Happy Earth Day!

I still remember my first Earth Day, April 1970. I was in junior high school at the time, and we were marched out of class to plant seedlings in the grassy area behind our classroom.

Back then, it was called Ecology Day, and had its own flag and everything — green and white stripes with a the Greek letter theta, which looks kind of like a lower-case “e”, dominating a square green field in the flag’s upper left-hand corner.

The ecology was all the rage back then. Marvin Gaye even gave that title to a song from his masterpiece of an album, “What’s Going On,” although you probably remember the song as “Mercy, Mercy, Me.”

Today, as we debate fracking and carbon-trading schemes, ecological concerns remain an enduring part of our politics, pitting the profit motive of polluting industries against the health of the earth’s inhabitants. ThinkProgress this week published a handy chart comparing the environmental records of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, just in case the fate of the earth was a criterion in deciding your pick for president.

Other big environmental stories this week include TP’s report on the impact of the BP oil spill on the Gulf of Mexico (eyeless fish and shrimp with tumors), and an AINN report on collusion between for-profit water companies and the natural gas industry, all in the service of fracking, a controversial method for extracting fuel from the ground that has been known to cause earthquakes.