As 4th of July Independence Day celebrations draw near, I find myself contemplating the intersection between patriotism and environmentalism.
At its most basic patriotism is love for one’s country.
What patriotism means to you, me, and every other American is deeply personal. To me, patriotism and environmentalism are complementary isms. I feel there is a strong connection between loving my country and protecting its people, land, water, air, and non-human denizens.
This post probably has its roots in 2012. I do not remember specifically what set me off (probably 4th of July sales), but I had reached a point where I could no longer stand being referred to as a consumer by the media and my own government. That year, I wrote a post entitled I am an American Citizen not just an American Consumer.
That post has led to other 4th of July posts exploring the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Statue of Liberty. By combining ideas from these three posts, I hope to illustrate my point that patriotism and environmentalism do intersect.
Declaration of Independence with a Green Twist
Every kid who goes to school in the United States studies the Declaration of Independence. I did, but it was a long time ago.
In honor of the 4th of July in 2013, I decided to reintroduce myself to the Declaration of Independence. After researching its history and reading the original Declaration of Independence, I created the green version below.
Declaration of Independence of 2013
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve corporations and laws that enable special interests to control our government and destroy our planet, we should declare the causes.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty, the pursuit of Happiness, and a Habitable Planet.
We are not disposed to suffer evils any longer and require corporations and our government to change and serve the greater good or face extinction. We submit these reasons.
- Corporations are allowed to pollute our land, air, and water.
- Corporations make and sell products that harm people and the planet.
- Corporations enable the wealthy few to become wealthier at our expense.
- Corporations waste Earth’s resources and generate mountains of trash.
- Corporations spend millions of dollars to finance political campaigns and elect politicians that will serve their interests, not ours.
We have appealed to our government to seek redress for our grievances but the government continues to allow these injustices to occur and in some cases actually abets them.
We mutually pledge to current and future Americans and other citizens of the world, that we’re not going to take it anymore.
We will use the freedom hard won by our nation’s founders to fight our oppressors with our actions, our voices, our smartphones, our wallets, and hopefully not our lives.
If you are interested, you can read a brief history of the Declaration of Independence in the post 4th of July – Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
11th Amendment to the Bill of Rights
Another year, I refreshed my knowledge of the Constitution of the United States and the events leading up to the Bill of Rights.
During my research, I discovered that 12 amendments had been proposed but the states only ratified 10. Therefore, the third amendment on the list became the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights guaranteeing the personal freedoms and rights of individual American citizens.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution
In the post 4th of July – Be a Green Citizen, I provided a historical overview of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights as well as proposed an 11th amendment to the Bill of Rights (it would be the twenty-eight amendment to the Constitution).
The people have the right to a habitable planet with clean air, clean water, fresh food, and nontoxic places to live, study, work, explore, and play.
The Statue of Liberty and Diversity
In 2017, I was reflecting on what it means to be an American and urging readers to do the same.
That year, I looked into the history of the Statue of Liberty, which is recognized around the world as a symbol, perhaps the symbol, of freedom and democracy.
You can read about the Statue of Liberty in the post entitled 4th of July – What Does it Mean to be an American?
The beautiful and powerful sonnet below is engraved on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.
The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,Emma Lazarus
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Today, the United States of America is home to a wondrous mix of people all seeking freedom, opportunity, equality, liberty, independence, democracy, and a chance for happiness.
Diversity is strength.
Mother Nature believes this, too. The healthiest ecosystems are those with the most biodiversity where different plants and animals live together, sometimes competing, sometimes collaborating, but somehow managing to find a balance for the good of the overall community.
I believe it is going to take the entire kaleidoscope of American people all working together with other people around the world to grapple with the climate crisis and to learn how to live sustainably on Earth.
Let us live joyfully and in harmony with other people and the balance of nature, so that we can all flourish on Earth now and in the future.
Happy 4th of July!
Featured Image at Top: A pile of buttons with a U.S. flag background with the saying “Planet Earth First” – photo credit iStock/cbies
- 4th of July – Be a Green Citizen
- 4th of July – Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness
- 4th of July – What Does it Mean to be an American?
- 4th of July Fireworks – Food for Thought
- Can Spreading Happiness Save the World
- Environmentalists Care about People AND Polar Bears
- Find it in the Federal Register – Government Transparency
- Green New Deal for the 21st Century
- I am an American Citizen not just an American Consumer
- It is Your Community, Go to a Public Meeting
- Make Your Voice Heard on Regulations.gov
- Moving Beyond Sustainability to Thrivability
2 thoughts on “4th of July – Patriotism and the Environment”
Again you amaze me with your thoroughness and zeal showing and sharing with us the knowledge and the path to become better, more aware American citizens.
We can certainly choose to just leave things alone and one day, perhaps too late, we will wonder how we got to an earth or country that is no longer able to share any resources as they are depleted or poisoned.
Yikes! This is an eloquent, well spoken, call to action to prevent more destruction and live an actionable life of environmental wellness not just on as scale of one, as I have been doing, but doing it with awareness, deeds and a voice of what will lead us to “live joyfully and in harmony with other people and the balance of nature, so that we can all flourish on Earth now and in the future”.
Thank you for your caring and your life as an environmentalist to back up your words.
If every person, like you, do their part, imagine what we can accomplish.