Thursday, May 13, 2010

EARTH DAY 1970

The planet was definitely younger, and YES INDEED, so was I.

Last month, April 22nd, was Earth Day -- since 1970, it's been a day, a month to observe.

With various "what's happening to our world" thoughts floating around since the oil spill, I've been telling myself, for goodness sake, pay attention.

I haven't really been paying attention -- I've been too busy with ... well ... life things.

Here's are some Earth Day concerns that have improved since 1970.

1. ACID RAIN ... I didn't know anything about it until Prince performed "Purple Rain" on TV and even then, I thought he was singing about rain drops not "acid." Anyhow, according to the 2008 statistics on the world's Acid Rain problem, regulations and laws have helped, but precipitation (rain) is still more acidic than it should be.

2. OZONE LAYER ... Because of the Montreal Global treaty of 1989, the ozone layer is recovering. (Signed by 196 states, fluorocarbons, HFCs, refrigerants in spray cans were banished. Most spray cans these days are okay to use.)

3. TOXIC SUBSTANCES ... Regulations have definitely helped, but there are, unfortunately, new toxic substances that are harming us (not on the list) and that's a worry.

4. AIR POLLUTION ... It's under control, but according researchers at California State University in Fullerton, bad air is maybe contributing to deaths of 18,000 in California.

5. ENDANGERED SPECIES ... Seven have become extinct, but fifteen species that were dying out, have recovered. (Yay for the "blue pike" and the "seaside sparrow." )

6. ENERGY USE ... Our "efficiency" is improved, (for instance, we're using those florescent light bulbs), but U.S. use, per person, is twice that of France and Germany.

Still worrisome:
7. CLIMATE CHANGE ... It's 19% worse now, according to the UNEP (United Nations Environment Program.)

8. SOLID WASTE ... We generate 250 million tons per year, per person -- MORE than we used to, and our landfills are in serious trouble.

So aside from writing and talking about it, what can I do? Be aware! Buy un-packaged things when possible! Use efficient appliances! Recycle carefully! Donate money to 'save the planet' causes!

I am occupying space on the planet, creating trash -- but I turn off lights, my new appliances are energy savers, and I haven't been driving, but if I needed to, I'd rent a non-gas-guzzling car and drive within the speed limit. And I don't smoke, or light a fire in the fireplace or go camping, or hunting.

If I do better, it won't make much difference. If all of us, other people similar to me, did better in all eight areas I've listed, would it help save the planet?

If all the people on the earth stopped everything that affects those eight concerns, will it prolong life on earth?

Numbers (approximate): 217,000 babies are born every day in the world; population is almost 9 billion; next year, 80 million more; since 350,000 people die each day, we're adding about 33,000 people a day.

Wait a minute -- we've been fretting fussing abortions, in-vitro fertilization, surrogates, and listening to warnings about climate, melting glaciers, nuclear proliferation, killer diseases -- we've got starving people, earthquake survivors, wars, terrorists , and 33,000 more people every day are going to run us out of water, food ...

So it's life, life itself that is creating the death of the planet?

Then what I do to preserve blue skies, stars, grass, flowers, air to breathe -- whatever I do is just for me?

It doesn't sound very large or significant but that is all I can really celebrate on Earth Day:
9. FREEDOM TO BE ME
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