hang·over \ˈhaŋ-ˌō-vər\ noun 1894 : Something (as a surviving custom) that remains from what is past : a letdown following great excitement or excess.
For some, New Years Day is defined by a thick party hangover. For others, November 1st inevitably involves a sugar hangover haze.
But for me, it's the day after Earth Day that always leaves me feeling slightly carved out.
After forty years of Earth Days, I still get stoked and pumped up that on this Earth Day the world will really change, presidents and prime ministers and queens and kings will jettison politics and tradition and declare that every day will be lived like Earth Day.
We clean up beaches, make new pledges, paint our kids' faces and fly the Earth flag. Inevitably I find myself stationed behind a non-profit information table, dispersing knowledge and answering questions or just giving away cool biodegradable stickers.
This year was the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, which is both impressive and daunting. On the first Earth Day in 1970, 20 million people, a solid ten percent of the population, joined the party in thousands of parks and schools across the nation.
Now, Earth Day is internationally recognized and has gained some momentum since its slump years in the 80s and 90s.
The leading issues threatening our planet remain largely the same: climate change, deforestation, population, pollution in its many forms, overfishing, all underlined by the urgent need to address peace, poverty, equity and women's rights.
Paul Hawken says there are as many as two million organizations around the world working for justice and the environment. People organizing themselves to address the problems government and business have ignored.
On Earth Day, this network of organizations party together.
We raise our collective voices high and check in on where we've been and how far we have to go.
We deepen our commitments and further collaborations.
We make speeches, sing, dance, love, play and share.
Because that's what's at the core of the global environmental justice movement.
No wonder the day after Earth Day I feel hung over. But the great thing about a hangover is that after a big glass of clear water and a nap, it's long gone.
And I'm ready party like it's Earth Day 2011.