Earth Day Turns 40

Today, April 22, is the 40th anniversary of the day we celebrate Earth, a day marked with community and global events intended to heighten awareness of the many threats to the health and well-being of our planet. It should remind us that sustained, ongoing efforts are required to address these challenges—every day of the year, not just on Earth Day. This might be a good time to ask, how well are we doing? According to Earth Day Network, “the world is in greater peril than ever,” with climate change posing the greatest challenge.  

What is troubling to me, however, and hopefully to you as well, is the dissonant scientific discourse concerning global warming Weathercasters just do not agree. The two groups at odds are climate scientists and meteorologists—and their debate has generated public skepticism. As reported in The New York Times on March 29


Climatologists, who study weather patterns over time, almost universally endorse the view that the earth is warming and that humans have contributed to climate change. There is less of a consensus among meteorologists, who predict short-term weather patterns. Joe Bastardi, for example, a senior forecaster and meteorologist with AccuWeather, maintains that it is more likely that the planet is cooling…. In a sense the question is who owns the atmosphere: the people who predict it every day or the people who predict it for next 50 years? (see also Elizabeth Kolbert’s  “Talk of the Town” piece in the April 12 issue of The New Yorker.

If we humans are part of the problem, as I believe, so too can we be part of the solution—a gradual one, to be sure. If we think about our particular way of life, our day-to-day activities, we’ll realize that thoughtless acts have a negative cumulative effect on the environment. Going green, when you think about it, need not be a formidable undertaking. We can take immediate steps and stick to them:

  • Turn off lights when we leave a room.
  • And use LED lighting in the home and office.
  • Don’t fill our gas tanks to the top, to avoid spillage, which is polluting to the environment.
  • And while we’re at it, try driving less or in car pools. With traffic congestion, the pollutants emitted from idling or stalled vehicles pose health risks.
  • Conserve water.
  • Stop using plastic bags for garbage disposal. Each one takes 100 years to decompose.
  • Recycle. Take advantage of the re-usable canvas bags now available at most supermarkets and other retailers. They’re inexpensive; and there is a small deduction from the grocery bill, depending on the number of bags used.

The above, of course, are no-brainers. But small acts and conscious efforts have a way of adding up and making a discernible difference—at least in our part of the universe. Finally, as Christians, we might also read The Green Bible, which facilitates locating scriptural directives on becoming stewards of all God’s creation. We owe Mother Earth that much. Let the celebration begin!

Patricia Kossmann

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
we vnornm
7 years 11 months ago
A large commercial project is being planned near some mountains where I live. There is great concern that pesticides and herbicides will leach into the soil or run off into the clear mountain brooks that feed a major trout stream. This is a place where I love to go fishing.
Yet there is unemployment here, rural poverty, and the glaring presence of rotting buildings amidst rising mountains.
How does the right of these good people to earn a living and feed their families fit in? Maybe there is a compromise. 
What does one say to the people living in the mountains, especially when one is enjoying a steady job? This is a touch conflict for me.
James Lindsay
7 years 11 months ago
I would much rather focus on out and out toxins, which mainly are dumped on the poor and darker skinned, than on carbon emisssions - especially when you consider that man made warming is probably what pulled us out of and is keeping us out of the Little Ice Age, which only ended in the mid 19th century. One or two more really big volcanos could make it very cold and make us all very hungry - especially if we do too good a job of controlling carbon.


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