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Atwood readings and entertainment at Claude church will mark Earth Day

Friday April 17 2009
BY KAY MACDUFFEE, COUNTRY ROADS-more from this author

Forty years ago this month, humanity celebrated the very first Earth Day.  It was, for most of us, the dawning on our consciousness of the connection between the two – Earth and the human species.  

And it all began, I suspect, with that famous 1968 photo of Earth, shot from the moon, when for the first time, we saw her clearly.  It marked the beginning of the environmental movement. Before that there were single voices: Rachel Carson, John Muir, Henry David Thoreau – visionaries who tried to awaken us, but we just didn’t get it until we witnessed the beautiful blue marble in space.

It kicked off the age of environmentalism, so that next week we celebrate a generation of activism. Impressive.

But can I hear the despairing response. “It’s not enough. We have so far to go. We’re running out of time.” True. But it’s important to celebrate how far we have come, and next week in Bolton, that is exactly what is planned.

 On the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, April 22, we are invited to an evening of top-notch entertainment. Green TEA is bringing back last year’s sell-out performance of PAYBACK, a fabulous evening of humour, music and timely words by Margaret Atwood. Readings from her latest book, ‘Payback’, featured on the CBC Massey series, will be the centerpiece.

In her final chapter, Atwood, with her quirky, dark humour, rewrites Dickens’ Christmas Carol, featuring a modern day Scrooge faced with the spirits of Earth Day, Past, Present and Future.  On her own initiative, Atwood tweeted this event announcement and web site to over 40,000 followers on You can read it at PAYBACK.

Actors, David Nairn, Shelley Peterson, Andrew Welch (the creative genius behind this event), and special guest, CBC’s Dave Seglins will bring the book to life. Between the pages, we get performances by popular folk musicians, Nonie Crete, Laura Bird and Jory Nash.

 All of the above have generously volunteered their precious time, and with the help of event sponsors it is hoped that all money raised can support the work of Green T Environmental Awareness and The David Suzuki Foundation.

In fact, based on the success of this year’s event, the Suzuki Foundation is considering taking the concept to many more communities across Canada, providing outreach to new audiences.

 This heralded evening will take place at Christ Church, Bolton beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $18 at the door or $15 in advance, and are available at Forster’s Book Garden, Christ Church office, Palgrave Church or online at Don’t delay. Christ Church fills up quickly and last year at the Claude Church in Caledon it was sold out.

Let me end with a comment from Nicola Ross, former director of Caledon Countryside Alliance and current executive editor of Alternatives Journal, as she sums up last year’s “Payback”.

“It was great to hear such an action-packed message delivered in this unique way. The event appealed to a really broad market and was highly entertaining. It’s sure to go viral!"

I have my fingers crossed. 

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