Earth Day Is Every Day!!!

Today is recognized as Earth Day, yet we live on this planet every day. People are celebrating the Earth all over the country and the world. Some are changing light bulbs to more energy efficient compact fluorescents, others are pledging to recycle and be more environmentally aware. Forty years ago, on the first Earth Day, such steps would have been great. But now the planet is in a state of crisis.

Our lack of commitment to the well-being of our home has placed Mother Earth in a state of great peril. Nature works in cycles and we too must begin to think and act in this way. One way of life has to die so another can live.

America and the other Western nations comprise 20% of the world’s population yet contribute 80% of the green house gases and other pollutants that are quickly killing life on the planet. North America itself is the leader in CO2 emissions with 20 tons per capita, then follows, Europe with 10 tons per capita, then China with 4 tons per capita, India with 1.2 tons per capita and Africa with .5 tons per capita. It is obvious that we have a great responsibility for the destruction of the planet and an even greater responsibility to change the way we live and interact with the rest of the planet. The limitless demand for more things at cheaper prices has thrown the entire planetary equilibrium off. Over 100 plant and animal species are being lost each day due to deforestation. Much of the deforestation is to create grazing areas for cattle to supply the growing global demand for beef. Our lifestyles of consumption and waste become the floods, droughts and forest fires in the global south.

Our view of the planet as a resource to be exploited must come to an end. We in the developed world must learn to live simply so that our global family may simply live. We have developed and expanded our economy based on the exploitation of the earth’s resources with no concern for the effects on the environment, indigenous peoples or future generations. We have already passed the turning point according to the world’s leading scientists. The rate at which the Earth is warming is unprecedented. The result of our continuing at the current rate of consumption is the end of life on this planet.

It may not be simple to change our lifestyles, but for the sake of the children, for the sake of all those people whose voices are seldom heard and whose faces are seldom seen, we must.

Here are a few action steps . . .Start where you are, study the issue, communicate with others and let’s work together to make Earthday Everyday!!

  • Buy used cars – there are over 250,000,000 cars in the US, an avg. of 2 per household. If we cut back on new cars and cultivate a culture of ride sharing and repairing instead of replacing-the industries involved in transportation would have to invest in more sustainable production vehicles—High Speed rail and other mass transportation would also become more relevant.
  • Bicycle as must as possible—this will increase health while reducing one’s carbon footprint
  • Plant a garden – food security will be increasingly important as the effects of climate change increase
  • Host a “pot-latch”, a Native America tradition of bringing the community together to give away and trade clothing and other items
  • Get to know your neighbors—when we have vital families and communities the need to consume (go to the mall) as a means of recreation is drastically reduced and our ability to enjoy one another and our environment is increased
  • Take a one week veg-pledge –meat production is the #1 contributor to greenhouse gases and factory farming is completely unsustainable – a vegetarian diet increases health and wellness and helps save the planet
  • Join a climate action organization to stay informed about the reality of global climate change
  • Boycott polluting companies
  • Write government officials at the local, state and national levels and call for climate change policies which address the global inequalities among those nations which pollute and those which suffer the effects of the pollution
  • Spend as much time as possible in nature—The more we and our families are exposed to the environment the more we will do to sustain it

We have an opportunity to take control of our lives and create a planet where we are all in harmony with nature. Let’s embark on this adventure with courage, creativity and love.

Zaccai Free, Cochabamba, Bolivia –World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth

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