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This is such a gorgeous time of year in Phoenix. Our roses are blooming non-stop, our tall jacaranda is about to rain down purple blossoms, and the apricot trees sport little green balls that will ripen in a month or two. Around the corner, I see opuntia (prickly pear) popping their own strange looking blossoms, which look like little hats lining the rounded top of their pads.

We celebrated Earth Day on April 22. With climate change still the most potent threat to life on earth, sometimes people wonder if anything has been achieved in the 51 years since the first Earth Day in 1970. That would be a mis-reading of history. Within the first year, the US passed legislation creating the Environmental Protection Agency (the EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). Soon followed laws regarding hazardous waste disposal, and most importantly, funds for clean-up through The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, (the Superfund Act).Within ten years, Congress wrote into law the Clean Air Act, followed by the Clean Water Act, banned fluorocarbon gases in aerosols, which were creating a huge ozone hole over the Antarctic, and communities around the nation began to encourage recycling.

My hippie characters in Joyous Lies were part of this movement, even if their original motivation was to escape the Vietnam War draft. They started an organic farm. In 1970, growing crops without insecticides and artificial fertilizers was considered a poor business proposition; today it is mainstream.

Much more remains to be done, and we need to do it quickly. Here’s a tip: Plant a tree, grow a garden —and if you have no space to do that, try to join a community garden. That combination of words, community and garden, tells it all. We can do this together.

Oh, and if you enjoyed reading Joyous Lies, I’d so much appreciate it if you’d spread the word by writing a review, preferably on Amazon and/or Goodreads! Thank you!!!