Tag Archives: Earth Day

Celebrate Earth Day every day

Why do we choose just a single day to honor Planet Earth, to call attention to the need to provide tender loving care to the only planet upon which human beings can survive — and thrive?

But … that’s what we do. Today is Earth Day, dear reader.

It was founded on this day 48 years ago to protest the damage that massive industrialization had done to our cherished planet. So, the recognition continues.

But this Earth Day is a bit worrisome to many of us.

Why? Well, we have a government agency — the Environmental Protection Agency — that is run by someone who doesn’t seem to place as much value on the protection part of his agency’s mission as many millions of us would prefer.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt seems hell bent on wiping environmental protection regulations off the books. He has the support of the president who nominated him to this job. Frankly, Pruitt’s management so far of the EPA has been nothing short of shameful.

But I prefer instead to look beyond the bumbling bureaucrat who runs the EPA.

Each of us has a role to play in caring for the Good Earth. Therefore, I won’t waste time criticizing the government — beyond what I’ve just stated in this blog post.

Our planet’s climate is changing. Coastal lowland is at risk of being inundated. We keep cutting down millions of acres of trees to make room for more cement and steel, which depletes the atmosphere of oxygen that living creatures consume to survive. We’re burning more fossil fuels, putting even more pressure on our fragile atmosphere.

Yes, there are alternatives to pursue. How do we look for them as individuals or families? We can drive fuel-efficient motor vehicles. We can perhaps invest more in alternative forms of energy. It’s windy out there and last I heard, the wind is as clean and infinite an energy supply as I can imagine.

Then there’s water. If you thought oil and natural gas were the lifeblood of a community, try building a town or a city without water. Those who live on the High Plains of Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico know the value of water. That aquifer that flows under us is receding. What are we going to do about it?

Protecting Mother Earth isn’t just a one-day-per-year event. It ought to be at the top of our minds every day.

Check this out from the Amarillo Globe-News: “Where I work we have a program called Stewardship 365, and it’s an oil and gas company” said Amarillo Environmental Task Force member Cole Camp as he conducted a recent tour of one of the City’s recycling venues at 27th and Hayes. “So we’re working to make sure people take that mindset of being cognizant of the environment home with them. It’s not just at work. It doesn’t have to be difficult. I find it really easy to do these things. It’s just as easy for me to put my cans in my recycling bin in my garage, as it is to throw it away in the trash can. It’s just a couple of more feet. So, with a little effort, we can make a lot of progress. By using the recycling facilities here in the City and keeping the waste from going to landfill, the landfill doesn’t expand nearly as fast and the City doesn’t have to pay for methane systems. By recycling we’re reducing waste and saving money.”

Excellent advice. Happy Earth Day … today and always!

Let us cherish the only Earth we have

Is it me or is Planet Earth going to get some major disrespect from the current president of the United States?

I ask because Earth Day is upon us. We commemorate our home planet with marches, speeches and occasionally fiery rhetoric from activists who proclaim the need to take care of our home.

Many of us take these exhortations seriously. Many others don’t.

I fear that one of those who don’t now resides in the White House. The 45th president of the United States, Donald John Trump, has said some pretty hideous things about some of the environmental crises facing this planet of ours.

The worst of those things has been to declare climate change to be  “hoax” promoted by our trading foes in the People’s Republic of China.

I have written about Earth Day previously in this blog. Here is this past year’s entry:

Happy Earth Day

Trump has assembled a Cabinet that includes an Environmental Protection Agency director, Scott Pruitt, who shares the president’s denial of climate change. Pruitt has sued the federal government multiple times dating back to when he served as Oklahoma attorney general.

Indeed, the EPA’s very mission is spelled out explicitly in its title: to “protect” the environment.

What did the president do shortly after taking office? He signed an executive order that rolls back regulations that sought to clean the air. Trump contends that the rules and regulations are “job killers” and he vows to do all he can to restore jobs for heavy industry.

At what cost? To pour pollutants into the air, which well could create hazardous living conditions for millions of Americans?

I remain committed to the idea that climate change is real and that human beings are playing a major role in creating the havoc that’s occurring around the world.

I’ve said it before but it bears repeating. This is the only Earth we have. We must cherish it. Protect it. Love it.

This terrestrial affection must exist far beyond a single day.

Happy Earth Day

EarthDay

I’m ashamed of myself.

Today is Earth Day and I damn near forgot about it.

The shame comes because every day ought to be Earth Day. Think of it. Earth is the only planet we have that suitable for human life … that we know of at this moment.

And yet we do such a terrible job of caring for it.

We wipe out forests to make room for human inhabitants.

We spew toxic gases into the air.

We dump garbage into the ocean without thinking of what it does to the wildlife that inhabits it.

We pour chemicals into the ground, poisoning animals that share this planet with us.

We encroach on wildlife habitat and react badly when one or more of those animals strikes back without understanding the consequences of that action.

I could keep going. I’ll stop there.

It gives me hope to drive along our countryside to see wind turbines turning. They are producing energy that helps us conserve the fossil fuels that we’ve already depleted. I also draw hope from the sight of hybrid automobiles that burn much less fuel than their predecessors.

I’m not going to issue condemnations with this brief post.

Instead, I choose to lament that Earth Day doesn’t reap the kind of international attention that we bestow on so many other such events.

Every day ought to be Earth Day.

Maybe one day when all of us here today have left this world, there’ll be an escape for those who come along after us if they don’t do a better job of caring for this world than others have done so far.

For now and for the foreseeable future, though, Planet Earth is all we have.

Let’s take care of it.

 

Farmers, ranchers cherish Planet Earth

A quick follow-up to an earlier blog post about Earth Day is in order.

One of my sons shared my post and he got a fascinating reaction from someone, who said farmers and ranchers celebrate Earth Day every day of the year.

That is so true. Indeed, if we all cherished Planet Earth the way farmers and ranchers do — given that they earn their living from the earth — the world would be in much better shape than it is today.

Here, though, is a caveat that needs mentioning.

Farmers and ranchers comprise a tiny and still shrinking percentage of Earth’s population. The rest of on our planet happen to be urban dwellers. In fact, some years back the U.S. Census Bureau stopped counting farmers in a separate demographic category, relegating them and ranchers to “miscellaneous” status. I saw that as a virtual insult to the men and women who harvest food, produce cattle and other edible livestock — otherwise feed the rest of us.

Yes, they care about Earth more than the rest of us.

It is to their great credit that they do.

Happy Earth Day, everyone!

So help me, I wish Earth Day was a bigger deal than it has become.

For a whole day — as if that’s enough time to honor the only planet we have — we’re supposed to put Earth on the top of our mind’s awareness.

http://www.earthday.org/

This is the 45th annual Earth Day. Many communities around the world are going to have public events to commemorate the day. That’s fine. I welcome all the attention that will be paid to Earth until the sun comes up tomorrow.

Given that it was created 45 years ago, that means Earth Day began during the Nixon administration. I doubt President Nixon really paid a lot of personal attention to the condition of the planet, but I certainly applaud that it was during his years in the White House that the Environmental Protection Agency was created.

In the decades since Earth Day’s creation, though, it has become something of a political flashpoint.

Some of us believe the planet is in peril. Our climate is changing and yet humankind keeps doing things to the planet that exacerbate the change that’s occurring. Deforestation is one thing. Spewing of carbon-based emissions is another. Some of say we need to do a better job of protecting our planet — or else face the consequences, which are as grim as it gets. Hey, we have nowhere else to live — for the time being, at least.

Others of us say there’s little we can do. Climate change? It’s part of Earth’s ecological cycle. We need to accept the inevitable and not seek to destroy our industrial base to chase after a cause that is far too big for mere human beings to tackle.

I won’t accept the hard-core climate change deniers’ thesis.

For the time being, I am at least grateful that the world sets aside a day to honor the good Planet Earth.

We ought to do it every day of every year.

 

Lesson to ponder for Earth Day

Today is Earth Day, a time we set aside to ponder the future of the planet and whether we humans are being careful stewards of this relatively tiny orbiting object.

Are we doing enough to protect it, and ourselves? I don’t think so but I pulled a resource book off the shelf to illustrate something I noticed some time back.

The World Almanac and Book of Facts is an invaluable font of information. I found this on page 734 of the 2013 edition:

The world is going to add 2.3 billion more people between now and 2050, according to data collected from a number of credible sources, such as the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce and the International Programs Center. The world has roughly 7 billion inhabitants now; the number zooms to 9.3 billion in the next 36 years.

Let’s look at an individual country to see just how dramatic this explosion can get.

How about, say, Nigeria? The population of Nigeria, a country in central Africa, is estimated at 170 million people. By 2050, the population there will is expected to explode to 402 million.

Why single out Nigeria? Consider that the country comprises an area of 356,669 square miles, which is about the size of Texas and New Mexico combined. The United States population, which stands at 310 million people today, is expected to climb to 422 million by 2050. The U.S. comprises an area of roughly 3.7 million square miles, the third-largest land mass on the planet.

Nigeria’s population density will expand from 438 people per square mile to more than 1,000 by 2050. The U.S. density is expected to go from 88 to roughly 100 in that time.

Some countries will see population decreases in this period of time, according to the World Almanac. They are largely in the Far East and in Europe.

I mention Nigeria only to ponder out loud: How does a country with such relatively limited living space care for all those people? And what will this explosion of humanity do to the land that supports it?

I’m very afraid.

Happy Earth Day, everyone

It just occurs to me that with all the trouble in the world today, Planet Earth is going to have a big day.

Earth Day is upon us.

We’ve been obsessed with a lot of disheartening news of late: that missing jetliner that’s lying in the bottom of the Indian Ocean, the mudslide in Oso, Wash., the capsized ferry off the Korean coast, Russia’s incursion into Ukraine, the Syrian civil war … and a whole of other things that are too numerous to mention.

But now it’s the 44th celebration of Earth Day.

This is the day we’re supposed to call attention to taking better care of the tiny planet all 7 billion of us inhabit.

My wife and I spent a few days in the Davis Mountains region of Texas recently. We took a trip to McDonald Observatory near Fort Davis, where we heard about the construction of a telescope that looks deeply into space. We heard narrations about billions of galaxies floating hundreds of billions of light years away. I tried for a moment to fathom the size of the universe; it cannot be done.

So I’m left to worry about our little, teeny-tiny speck of it that orbits around our relatively insignificant star we call “The Sun.”

Are we taking good enough care of this orbiting globe? Hardly.

We’re polluting our water, cutting down or burning forests, spewing toxic fumes into the air, filling our land with garbage we cannot — or will not — recycle. That’s just the beginning of it.

Earth Day came into being in April 1970, during the administration of that flaming environmentalist Richard Nixon, on whose watch the government created the Environmental Protection Agency. President Nixon had it right then to establish an agency charged with regulating industries’ standards and to hold them accountable for the mess many of them were — and still are — making of the environment.

The EPA since then has become the bogeyman of the far right, which doesn’t like government telling private industry how it should protect the land, air and water. I happen to like the EPA and hope it stays around for as long as human beings inhabit the planet — which I’m supposing will be long after I’m gone.

There’ll be rallies around the world. Well-meaning folks will remind us we can do a better job of protecting the planet. We’ll nod our heads in agreement; some of us will dismiss it as government overreach.

Then the day will pass and we’ll return to wondering about that jetliner and hoping war doesn’t break out in Ukraine.

Earth, though, has a special day set aside. Happy Earth Day, fellow travelers. Take care of this planet. It’s the only one we’ve got.