You know, I learned the most marvelous things in conducting research for this blog. For example, in anticipation of Earth Day, I picked up the most fascinating book the last time I was at the bookstore. It is titled, “Save the World, What Can YOU Do To Fight the Climate Crisis? It is an interactive journal, published in England, with thought-provoking questions and exercises. For example, one question asked is “What do you do now that you know is bad for the environment?” This is a good place to start, looking at the man/woman in the mirror. It is followed by “What do you think you could do to improve these habits?” This is not a novel that you casually read and toss aside. It is a workbook that forces you to take a good long look at your lifestyle and how you can live a more earth-friendly existence. I got it at Barnes & Noble and I imagine it is available online during our time of quarantine.
The April 2020 AARP Bulletin featured an interview with Denis Hayes, who was selected by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson to organize the first Earth Day 50 years ago. Earth Day gave us hope. We weren’t going to continue to live in a cesspool anymore. Between 1970 and 1976 the Clean Air Amendments of 1970, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, Drinking Water Act and more were passed. The earth, air and water are cleaner than before. The hole in the ozone was starting to heal. There was positive excitement in the air. It was as though our blinders had been taken off and we were able to see that there are so many things that are so much more valuable than money.
But we are not out of the woods yet. The world is producing more carbon dioxide every year than the year before. Tumultuous weather in the form of hurricanes, floods, droughts forest fires and rising seas have become commonplace. Some countries try to make a positive difference, some just pay lip service, in homage to the almighty dollar. According to this article, we already have in hand everything we need to build an ultra efficient society powered 100 percent with renewable-energy technologies, we just have to do it. And what’s crazy is that we will all benefit.
But we now have a new champion. Greta Thunberg, a 17 year old climate activist from Stockholm Sweden has become the spokesperson for our environment.
“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you! For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you’re doing enough, when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight.”
She is a straight-talking environmental activist who does not flinch from what she sees as the duties of the whole world. She has people excited and talking about how they can support her and our fragile planet. And that is a very good thing.
But, wait there is some more good news! Since the coronavirus quarantine, with people staying home more, pollution levels are starting to come down. Even water is showing cleaner levels with diminished manufacturing activity. Now if we can just remember to live at this slower pace for a while we will all benefit. We’ve got the power. We just have to remember to vote with our ballots and our wallets.
“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”