On April 22, 2021, our planet, called Earth, also known as Gaia by the Greeks or Asase Yaa in the Akan tradition, celebrated the 51st anniversary of Earth Day.
Earth Day was established in 1970 as a day of education about environmental issues. Elected to the U.S. Senate in 1962, Senator Gaylord Nelson, a Democrat from Wisconsin, was determined to convince the federal government that the planet was at risk. In 1969, Nelson, considered one of the leaders of the modern environmental movement, developed the idea for Earth Day after being inspired by the anti-Vietnam War “teach-ins” taking place on college campuses around the United States.
According to Nelson, he envisioned a large-scale, grassroots environmental demonstration “to shake up the political establishment and force this issue onto the national agenda.” (Earth Day 2021 – HISTORY).
In essence, people had to be convinced that we need to pay attention to environmental issues, and apparently, even today, some people are still skeptical that such a cause is valid. They attribute the alarm that people are demonstrating to false news, imagination, or just fears of nature doing its thing.
This attitude is shortsighted and downright dangerous. Our planet is changing right under us as we debate whether or not it has suffered damages. According to a NASA publication Global Climate Change, Vital Signs article entitled “The Effects of Climate Change,” Global climate change has already had observable effects on the environment. Glaciers have shrunk, ice on rivers and lakes is breaking up earlier, plant and animal ranges have shifted and trees are flowering sooner.
Moreover, effects that scientists had predicted in the past would result from global climate change are now occurring: loss of sea ice, accelerated sea level rise and longer, more intense heat waves.
Unfortunately, while all of this is going on, we are distracted by other seemingly more pressing problems like racism, escalating violence, and political and economic woes.
During March and April, 2021, for example, there were more than 53 mass shootings. Interestingly, when this is pointed out, some people offer psychological yawns saying this is business as usual, and that nothing will be done about the violence.
In other words, in spite of the geological and sociological chaos engulfing us, people are demonstrating a kind of apathy, probably borne of frustration about their inability to impact change.
This is a conundrum: if we don’t do something soon, we will not have a platform on which to play out our toxic sociological, political and economic games. We won’t have a planet on which to live.
Some of our wealthier planetarians already seem to understand the severity of climate change problems facing us, which is why there is increasing talk about colonizing the Moon and Mars. Others chalk this talk up to the fact that human beings have always been explorers and that this is why plutocrats are looking for off-planet worlds to conquer.
But the point is that some of our fellow Earth dwellers actually have the wherewithal to leave the rest of us on a dying planet while they go off-world to create paradise for themselves.
It may be just fanciful dreams that the dangers of climate change can be averted by escaping the planet even though some people are seriously discussing this notion. This is not an option, however, for the vast majority of the rest of humanity. Those of us with lesser financial means have an urgent obligation to do something about healing our global mother.
What can we do with the resources that we have now? For one, cut back on the use of fossil fuels for starters. Fortunately, the idea of actually building and utilizing electric cars is progressing and people are purchasing them.
We can also plant trees; and it is suggested that we reduce our carbon footprints by doing things like cycling to work; shopping local; lowering red meat intake; observing a dairy-free day at least once a week; powering our homes with renewable energy; investing in energy-efficient appliances; weatherizing homes; buying better bulbs; urging the government to act; cutting down on the use of plastic; using solar panels on our homes; using public transport as much as possible; reducing food waste, and stopping destroying forests, among other actions.
It is important that each of us does what we can in order to help save Mother Earth. If we don’t put forth our best efforts in this regard, we must all take some of the blame for what might be the demise of our planetary home! A Luta Continua.