Monday, April 22, 2019

Reflections on Earth Day 2019

NASA PHOTO: Blue Marble 2012-Composite satellite photo of Earth's Western Hmisphere

Look again at that dot.  That's here.  That's home.  That's us.  On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives.  The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king, peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there - on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.  

Carl Sagan in 1980
- Carol Sagan (1934-1996), American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist
From Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space [1994]

Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.

- Cree proverb

The ultimate test of man's conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words and thanks will not be heard.

- Gayford Nelson (1916-2005), American environmentalist, 35th Governor of Wisconsin 1959-1963), U.S. Senator from Wisconsin (1963-1981)
From The New York Times, "Ah, Wilderness! Save it," September 4, 1984

The first ever Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970.  Where are we, 29 years later?  The danger is real and it is imminent.  A study published on April 2, 2019 by the Potsdam Institute for climate Impact Research in Germany found that human activity has helped cause carbon levels to rise to a level unseen since the Plicene epoch, 2.6 to 5.3 million years ago.

I believe there is much more genuine concern about climate change, especially among young people.  However, if young people really want action on the environment, they must get out and vote.  This is the only way to stop right-wing conservative politicians such as Donald Trump in the United States, Doug Ford in Ontario and Jason Kenney in Alberta from coming to power.  The climate deniers are loud and forceful and they prey on genuine fears about the price of gas.  Unfortunately, many people are unable to look at the big picture.  As Gayford Nelson put it, they are unwilling to "sacrifice something today for future generations whose words and thanks will not be heard."  I can understand the angst about the cost of gas, but cap and trade or a carbon tax is a small price to pay in order to save our Earth.  We have to find alternatives to oil and other fossil fuels.  We have to elect more environmentally friendly politicians. 

It is happening more every day - more flooding, more forest fires, more hurricanes.  Call me a tree hugger if you wish.  I know it's a derogatory term to make fun of those who are legitimately concerned about the environment.  There is so much ignorance out there, beginning with the President of the United States.  Donald Trump stated that the "noise" from "wind mills"causes cancer.  He was actually talking about wind turbines.  Then there are the people who think that one cold, snowy day in one specific place means that "global warming" is not a problem.  Many do not know the difference between "global warming" and "climate change."  That's why we have to act NOW.

WARNING!  Time is running out for Mother Earth. 

One more thing: Smokers, I implore you not to flick your cigarette butts on the ground.  According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this is the most common form of littering in the world.  Please remember that cigarette butts are toxic and they pollute.  They are deadly to living creatures.  Also, they look dirty and ugly.

- Joanne