EARTH DAY ON AN AILING PLANET

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The 50th Anniversary of the observance of Earth Day took place on April 22, 2020. The celebration of this day was established for the purpose of demonstrating support for environmental protection. The initial observance was in 1970, and it now includes events coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network in more than 193 countries. On Earth Day 2016, the landmark Paris Agreement was signed by the United States, China, and some 120 other countries. This signing satisfied a key requirement for the entry into force of the historic draft climate protection treaty adopted by a consensus of the 195 nations present at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.

Fast forward to the present: Earth Day 2020 April 22, was a pivotal point in the history of our world. We are in the midst of a global coronavirus pandemic that has people in most of the world either quarantined or Sheltered-in-Place in order to “flatten the curve” of the pandemic. Oddly and sadly, there is a whole group of people in the United States who are refusing to cooperate with the voluntary isolation that is designed to shorten the duration of the plague. Some of them believe the pandemic is a hoax, and that it is a ruse to take away our freedoms. One individual even compared the situation to Rosa Parks’ freedom fight because of a reluctance to comply with stay at home policies. Ludicrous! Many of those demonstrating are President Donald Trump’s supporters. Trump has not discouraged the demonstrators. Observers believe that his ulterior motive, which isn’t actually hidden, is that he wants to re-open the United States in order to help save the economy.

In addition to the pandemic, the planet is faced with the specter of climate change, which is evident everywhere in ever more violent weather. Bill Gates, the computer mogul, is even working on an initiative with Harvard University to “dim the Sun” in an attempt to curb climate change. Global pollution is an increasing problem, which can be seen in the number of wildlife in our oceans dying due to the ingestion of plastic that has been discarded by humans. There are stories of sea animals washed ashore being found with tons of plastic garbage in their systems.

There are also an alarming number of die-offs, with some species becoming extinct. Bees are endangered with many instances of colony collapse, which will bode very negatively for everyone on the planet. Birds are falling out of the sky; animals are being found in urban areas that they have not traditionally inhabited most likely in search of scarce resources.

The conclusion is that humanity has proven to be a very flawed steward of the planet. We are destroying it, and only a few seem to be concerned enough to do something about it. Sadly, the United States is one of the biggest polluters, but is not taking adequate responsibility. For example, the Trump administration withdrew from the 2015 Paris Agreement because it would adversely impact the economy, and has relaxed EPA standards mostly for the same reasons. This is short-sighted indeed.

It has been said by some observers that we have only 10 to 20 years at best to remedy the environmental situation before we reach a point of no return. That means that we must figure out a way to effectively address climate change. We must come together to save the planet. Most people are so preoccupied with trying to eke out a meager living, and in the case of Black people, fighting the monster of racism and oppression which has served as a blockage to success, for people to devote adequate attention to this important problem.

The unavoidable truth is that if we do not take care of our home planet, racism, white supremacy, poverty, war, and all of the other ills that beset us will be moot if there is no planet left for us to inhabit. We must save our planet before it is too late. We must shift our focus to realize that this is one of the greatest challenges that we face; we need to rearrange our priorities post haste in order to avoid the dystopian future that so much of popular culture predicts. A Luta Continua.

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