Happy Yesterday Earth Day/Mother Earth Day!
How fortunate are we to live in such a beautiful world…
I woke up yesterday to the Sun shining, the sky such a soft cream of a blue that it was so hard to discern between it and the sea. Yes I am one of the lucky ones who grew up and is still currently living by the sea. Every morning I have the chance (and take it) to go for a run with the sound of waves rolling in, at times sprinkling me with droplets, at others so still I can only hear myself (feet, breath, heart).
But whilst running, I’m not constantly thinking of my environmental, hardly even aware of the natural landscape when my body is on autopilot and my mind is going through 10 things that need figuring out before I get back home: the root of the x, what to have for breakfast, what to stuff in my bag, what books I haven’t read, things worthy to stress about, stress generally and then…philosophy. The big questions.
I’m a prime example of habituation and, therefore, when my Twitter feed popped up with Earth Day, I was so excited. Because we so often consciously/unconsciously place our Earth into the background of our visual field and it has led to numerous dramatic and, unfortunately, tragic consequences. But before we get into statistics…
How/where/why/what is Earth Day?
1970: Gaylord Nelson, senator for Wisconsin, USA, wasGaylord Nelson first conceived of this day. Worried about the increasing rate of industrialisation combine with a cold aloofness of the population towards the natural environment. Thus he proposed the 22nd of April to be a day where the Earth becomes the protagonist, the superstar and the Valentine of our cards/chocolates and hearts. His idea was to set the day to raise awareness of ecology and the importance of protecting the community’s environment against countless pollution. Today, the 22nd of April has grown to such popularity that people from all over the globe use this day to celebrate, educate and learn about the Earth we call home.
Why do we need Earth Day?
‘…a distinct geological layer upon the Earth made up of technofossils…Couches, ballpoint pens, garage doors, safety pins, zip drives, plastic water bottles, cars, buildings—almost anything that’s not recycled has the potential to fossilize—that is, partially or entirely preserved over time due to burial in the Earth or within layers of other fossils…’
Our everyday comforts and habits are having a profound impact on our surroundings. It is hard to believe that our individual choice to switch off the light or buying certain products can have an impact not only on those in our immediate community but in territories 1000s of kms away. Nathaniel Scharping’s article discusses recent studies on the impact of locally manufactured on threatened species in other areas around the world. For instance:
2% of the risk faced by the stub-footed toad in Brazil, for example, is due to logging operations spurred on by consumption in the U.S.
The generic habits category also includes our eating habits and especially our choice to eat meat. The University of Minnesota published an article on how our diet has altered our immediate and global environment and, in consequence, our environment is now ‘poisoning’ our bodies with toxins. What goes around, comes around…
One of the biggest factors on our surroundings is the choice to consume meat. A reader of ScientificAmerican posed a question on that very statement and the answer, though brief, delves into a quite a broad range of changes the meat industry has caused on the environment. Even the NPR have proposed eating less meat would not only improve our health but detoxify the Earth. And, according to PewResearch, more and more young people are making the commitment to go plant-based as their active involvement to save the natural environment.
But this week’s favourite article is by John P. Gibbons who advocates for a more positive activism in relation to raising awareness on the effects on the environment. He quotes Nancy Knowlton’s motto:
‘The best way to encourage conservation is to share our success stories, not to write obituaries for the planet.’
And she is very right. Whilst being aware of the risks, dangers, and tragic stories, it is the light in the tunnel that will lead us through these times. The knowledge that change is possible not theoretically but in practice. And so today’s post will end not with a Vegan-Basher-Green-Attack but with this video of how a 7-year-old has taken the step to change his community. Yes it’s the younger generation that is showing us oldies how to be compassionate towards those in our visual field.