As Earth Day reaches middle age — it turns 40 today — will it get all the respect it's grown to expect?
From those who love it? Always. It's a chance for environmentalists, young and old, to look back on all that has been accomplished, but address the continuing challenges.
But in some circles, which may have broadened in recent years, not so much.
The environmental celebration that once seemed more innocently focused on planting trees, on DDT and on weeping Indians is now bound up with politics and climate change — and amid a toxic cloud of polarization and name calling.
As a result, some green movement momentum has been lost, Earth Day supporters agree. But they welcome the debates the day brings.
Critics long have accused its organizers of being anti-business or anti-growth. The Washington Post last year characterized the day a "global guilt-fest."
Likely it will be called worse today from the right of the political spectrum, where the energetic tea party crowd resides.
A recent New York Times poll that reached more than 800 tea party supporters found that 51 percent see no serious impact from climate change, twice the rate of other Americans, and that 15 percent of supporters don't believe climate change even exists, three times the rate of the rest of the population.
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