Tag Archives: environmentalism

Hey, it’s Earth Day!

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

We celebrate this day every year. We say the right things. We actually try to do the right things.

And yet …

Our precious, precarious planet continues to be threatened by policies and behavior that places it in dire peril. What’s going on?

Earth Day is meant to bring the world’s attention to the only planet on which human beings can inhabit. Why don’t we celebrate this world of ours every single day?

I am not going to suggest that our household is doing anything extraordinary to protect our precious Earth, but we have embraced the notion of recycling with both arms. We hug the notion tightly. We now live in a community where recycling has become something akin to a way of life among the thousands of fellow residents of Princeton, Texas.

That is one small way we do our part to protect our planet.

To be clear, ours isn’t the only North Texas community that allows residents to recycle items. We are surrounded by small towns and mid-sized cities that also provide opportunities for residents to do their part, too. For that I am grateful.

Recycling material reduces the consumption of fossil fuels used to create this stuff from scratch by as much as 40 to 50 percent, as I have understood it over the years. It takes far less finite energy to re-use material than to manufacture it.

I am not going to say that every community’s embrace of recycling is going to save our planet by itself. I do offer the belief that human beings’ involvement in recycling that can contribute to the overall goal of preserving our planet’s resources and in keeping our environment clean enough for humans to continue living here.

Our government has returned to the community of nations’ effort to preserve our planet. President Biden’s executive order to return the United States to the Paris Climate Accord is a good first step. Donald Trump pulled us out of that international agreement, calling it intrusive and an impediment to business. Hmm. Well, many of us disagreed with Trump’s call and are welcoming Joe Biden’s involvement in this critical effort.

We are going to honor our Good Earth today. Schools will dedicate class time to remind our children of the need to take care of the planet. Our public airwaves will have programming aimed at doing the same thing.

Those of us who are able also will do our part by filling up our recycling bins with items that can be re-used and re-purposed with the goal of conserving our nation’s precious resources.

Happy Earth Day! Let’s remain vigilant and attentive to our planet tomorrow, too … and for as long as we all inhabit this place.

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!

Hit the road, Mr. EPA Director

I’ll now join the chorus of those who want to see EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt tossed out of office. He should be shown the door and told to avoid letting it hit him in the backside as he hits the road.

The man was a terrible selection to lead an agency whose mission is to “protect” the environment. The former Oklahoma attorney general made a lot of noise suing the Obama administration, seeking to overturn regulations designed to do the very thing that the EPA is charged to do. The Environmental Protection Agency is now better named the “Environmental Destruction Agency.”

Now he’s in some serious trouble ethically. He and his wife rented a condo from an oil company lobbyist. They got into the place dirt cheap. Meanwhile, the lobbyist was trying to persuade the EPA to roll back regs the oil company the lobbyist was representing wanted rolled back.

Gosh! Do you think there might be a conflict of interest here? I do. So might the president of the United States. At least two Republican members of Congress have called on Pruitt to quit.

Here’s my favorite: Donald Trump has issued a tepid endorsement of Pruitt. And you know how those endorsements usually end up. Trump endorsed former White House strategist Stephen Bannon: gone. He did the same thing for former national security adviser H.R. McMaster: gone.

Trump’s statements of support are worth, oh, just about nothing. Which makes them worth just as much as damn near anything the president says in public, out loud, on the record.

Pruitt is a lousy choice to lead the EPA, even without this latest matter involving a serious breach of ethics.

Get him out of there, Mr. President.

Snowball stirs climate change debate

U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe’s snowball stunt has done something quite useful.

It has sparked another round of debate over whether Earth’s climate is changing.

The Oklahoma Republican sought to debunk the climate change theorists when he brought the snowball to the Senate floor this week. It’s really cold in Washington, D.C., the chairman said. So the snowball is a symbol of what he believes, which is that climate change is a load of crap.


Actually, it’s not.

As the brief essay attached to this post notes, although the D.C. temperature was quite cold, that very day it was swelteringly hot in Opa Loca, Fla. — 87 degrees hot, as a matter of fact.

Does the temperature in Opa Loca on one day mean that Earth’s climate is changing? Not any more than the snowball in D.C. disproves it.

But the debate is a good one.

Science has produced mountains of evidence to suggest that the planet is getting warmer. Yet we keep hearing deniers suggest that the planet is getting colder. The polar ice caps are melting. No, wait! They’re getting larger.

The climate is changing because of human activity, scientists have concluded. Others say the climate change is part of an epochal cycle.

Here’s a notion worth considering. What if we actually did reduce carbon emissions significantly by requiring industrial plant managers to do a better job of controlling what they’re spewing into the atmosphere? How about if Third World governments cracked down on those who are obliterating forests and reducing the level of oxygen being pumped into the atmosphere to counteract the carbon dioxide that contributes to the carbon levels? What if we did all we could do to make the air cleaner with less carbon?

Wouldn’t that sustain the planet longer? Wouldn’t all that work slow the deterioration of our resources, if not reverse it?

Chairman Inhofe can deny the existence of climate change. But a cold day in D.C. doesn’t prove his point.

I am not going to buy into the notion that doing nothing about any of this is good for the only planet we have.


News flash: Earth sets temp record once again

This just in: Planet Earth just set yet another record for temperatures around the globe during a calendar year.

2014 was 0.07 degrees hotter than the previous record year, says the National Climatic Data Center.


Will that put the kibosh on the climate-change deniers? Do not even bet on that. Not for a minute.

They’ll suggest that the scientists at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration are much of politically driven zealots whose aim is to destroy the fossil fuel industry.

They likely might contend that the White House cooked up the numbers just to advance their agenda aimed at developing those nasty clean-energy alternatives. You know, those wind farms and solar panels that are harvesting the wind and the sun and producing actual energy to heat and cool our homes.

Weather forecasters began keeping worldwide temperatures in 1880. The year just past set a record. Who or what is responsible? Scientists say it’s humans. Other scientists it’s all part of Earth’s ecological cycle which repeats itself about, oh, every other millennia.

Let’s be mindful, though, of an important factor.

No matter the cause, billions of human beings are going to be affected by the changes occurring in our climate. Storms are getting more severe. Ice caps are receding. Rainy regions are getting less rain. Sea levels are rising.

And the world’s 7 billion souls — and counting — are standing right in the path of Mother Nature’s infinite power.

I don’t know about you, but I worry for Planet Earth.