Earth is beautiful from the window of an airplane. Above it all. Looking down on everything…on everyone. That’s part of how the President wanted to spend a day of reflection on sustainability.

New Yorkers, however, may not have appreciated the inconvenience. Obama’s Earth Day trip jammed New York City air traffic. And Vice-President’s parallel trip on the same day to the same city didn’t help much either.

The parallel visits of Air Force One (a 747/VC-25 aircraft) and Air Force Two (a 757/C-32A aircraft) will delay dozens, if not hundreds of commercial flights at Kennedy and LaGuardia and other nearby airports as no-fly zones are implemented. Jets will be forced to circle and burn more fuel as they wait for the VIPs to come and go. Their security contingents consisting of dozens of cars, SUVs and helicopters will burn even more. Throw in thousands of commuters’ cars and delivery trucks sitting idle in traffic as law enforcement closes large swaths of the city and you have yourself a very Earth-unfriendly day.

Last year, Obama brought awareness to fuel consumption by burning 9,000 gallons of it. He flew to Iowa, which equates to two flights on Air Force One and four on Marine One, so his speech on energy exploration would be visually stimulating with wind turbines in the background.

This year
, he flew 250 miles up the east coast to New York for a speech about Wall Street reform at Cooper Union. In preparation of that speech, NYPD clipped the locks of hundreds of bikes along Houston Street and tossed them into the backs of trucks. You can see pictures here and here.

Fearing possibly hidden pipe bombs, the Secret Service had the bikes removed for the President’s motorcade, leaving many New Yorkers perturbed and unable to locate their bikes, which may be a bit damaged after being “unceremoniously” stacked in the back of trucks, as one NYC blogger described it.

Meanwhile, Vice-President Joe Biden celebrated Earth Day by appearing on The View so he could talk to Whoopi and the girls about his opinion of Sarah Palin and why he throws out the f-bomb.

In further celebration of Earth Day’s 40th Anniversary, President Obama made a video recounting the day’s history but with a heavy rewrite, according to the progressives at The Breakthrough Institute.

Obama’s message said:

Forty-one years ago, in the city of Cleveland, people watched in horror as the Cuyahoga river, choked with debris and covered in oil, caught on fire. Images of the burning Cuyahoga shocked the nation and it led one Wisconsin senator, the following year, to organize the first Earth Day to call attention to the dangers of ignoring our environment.

Except, that’s not accurate.

[T]he image of the burning river that purportedly catalyzed Earth Day and the modern environmental movement was actually taken in 1952, not 1969, because the “historic” latter fire didn’t even burn long enough to be photographed. (…) By the 1969 river fire, the image was far more threatening than the actual event. (…) the dependence upon visual imagery is a kind of nostalgia masquerading as political strategy. And like almost all expressions of nostalgia, it is reductive and simplifies a much more complex picture…

Obama’s Earth Day may have jammed NYC air traffic, destroyed hundreds or thousands of bikes so that New Yorkers had to hail a cab to get home and be without transportation, and distorted basic historic facts. But I’m sure the view out of Air Force One was worth every minute. Happy Earth Day!