Walking with the Alligators

Walking with the Alligators
A Florida Alligator

April 22, 2014

Earth Day Memories, then and now~

Stuntman Dar Robinson and Actor/Environmentalist Iron Eyes Cody, two kind and gentle men.

Many years ago in California, I had the privilege of meeting a person who was often shown in commercials to tug at the heart-strings of us all,  to treat our Planet or Mother Earth better.
This man and I were introduced one night at the Artists and Models Ball in the late 1980′s.
I had been sent to cover the event for the Entertainment section of the LA newspaper I worked for at the time.
Meeting him that night,  I was struck by his gentle, kind demeanor.
He truly was, exactly like the person he portrayed in the Environmental commercials for so many years.
His name was Iron Eyes Cody, or as those of us in California loved to call him, The Crying Indian.
He made a huge impact, just as he and this commercial were meant to do, on the status of a beleaguered Earth and his commercial was ALWAYS a central part of any California Earth Day event.
I will not discuss the controversy over his ancestry, it is not why I admired his work.
What this  man did then and will always do, is to make me aware of the irresponsible, often cruel way that Humans treat this place that they owe everything to, while showing her such little regard or respect.
This commercial and the campaign worked, and began a movement that started in California and spread throughout the country, to change or at least rethink, our bad behavior.
But that was then, what have we done as a species since then, to lessen our heavy footprint on this Planet?
Many groups and organizations in the United States are working tirelessly to reverse the damage already done, some are successful, some are not.
The point is, that because of Earth Day and the promotional awareness that it brings with it, Environmental Issues remain on the table.
An example, this morning on our local news, was a story that made me smile.
Darden Restaurants Inc.,whose home office is in Orlando, has begun a brilliant project.
At several of the restaurants in their chain, they are saving food scraps in a project that has them working together with Organic Matters, who is a local organic recycler.
These scraps are then being used to feed chicken and cows.
The result of this new plan, is that less food will end up in our land fills and many more animals will have a better, more natural food source.
It is a win-win.
Can the rest of the country consider picking this great idea up?
I have faith in us, with a little encouragement, we humans do try to get it right.
So, on this Earth Day, if you eat out somewhere, perhaps you might ask the owner or manager of the place, if they have heard of this idea and if they would be willing to follow suit?
We have nothing to lose and hearing about all of this, the Crying Indian may just be smiling from his final resting place.
God Bless you Iron Eyes, you were such a special man with a giant, gentle heart.
I am grateful to have known you, if only for just one night.

Places to learn more:
Darden turns scraps into animal feed
Food Waste Alliance
Organic Matters


  1. Nice post Gatorwoman. You touched on the controversy over Iron Eyes ancestry - it's a shame that when I see a picture of the man I think "Oh, yeah... I remember that whole deal..." such is the power of the media in forming popular opinion. We really simply have to look past that and remember the way we felt when we first saw that tear... again it is the power of media in forming a public consensus. So cool that you got to meet him. Thanks for sharing this photo.

    You might remember another anti-campaign that was running at about the same time as the Iron Eyes Cody spots:
    The "You Gotta Pitch-In... To Clean Up America..." jingle (forever engrained in my memory.)

    Since we are talking days gone by... I cannot let this one go by without directing the politest possible wolf-whistle toward the blonde at center stage. :D

  2. They were both so sweet. I met many people that night, but they were the two who stole my heart..
    Perfect gentlemen.
    BTW Dar was one of the most cherished stuntmen in the industry. He was killed not long after this. Such a great loss.
    I don't remember the either ad you speak of, wonder if it made it to LA at that time?
    I was/am very familiar with all the ugly press about Iron Eyes. It was what he did to our hearts that matters, I believe.
    As for the last, it was a long time ago, but thank you~
    I almost did not use this picture because I was in it, but it was the only one that I had of Iron Eyes and he is always who I think of on Earth Day. So.........

  3. Hard to believe you missed the "Pitch In" campaign... In the mid~late seventies I spent a fair amount of time at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and it seemed as though they played that PSA over the public address system a couple times per hour. It got to the point where you could hear the echos as many of the spectators would sing along. The fact that the campaign was sponsored by the American brewers association probably was a factor in why is was played at the track. I dug up this video - perhaps it will ring a bell... For me this is truly a "Blast from the past" (in keeping with your topic): http://youtu.be/L4oSkW5KvXI - Enjoy :D