Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day 2010- Why should we care?

Earth Day was founded on April 22nd in 1970 by US Senator Gaylord Nelson as a way to teach and encourage "out-of-the-box" thinking on ways that we can better take care of our environment in addition to the prevention of further destruction of our precious resources. The logo above was used as a back-drop for the first Earth Week in 1970 on the CBS prime time report with Walter Cronkite. 40 years later, we are still celebrating this important event but truly Earth Day should be everyday and it is for many scientists, non-profits and passionate and intelligent writers and activists. But it can be overwhelming to hear all the facts, fears and doomsday threats. And the science can be so abstract and non-urgent as it discusses events that can happen several years down the road. The facts are argued daily and the details are still being studied but the science is clear that there is a problem that needs fixing. What are some of the problems we hear about? Climate Change. Pollution. Plastics in the ocean. Chemicals in the groundwater. Endangered species. Too much waste. Too much oil. Too many big cars. We can go on and on. All topics are related to the same issue that we have created a society that encourages over-consumption, disposable products that aren't disposable and use of harmful chemicals to fight or kill everything that eventually causes more problems than it fixes. Why should we care you ask? Well, here are 2 very important reason's why:

1. Urgency- Climate change is affecting us sooner than we initial thought. "We've known for some time that we have to worry about the impacts of climate change on our children's and grandchildren's generations. But we now have to worry about ourselves as well."- Margaret Beckett- British Secretary of State for the Environment
2. It's also about ourselves and our resources- "At the end of the day, when we all talk about saving the environment, in a way it's misstated because the environment is going to survive, we're the ones who may not survive or we may survive in a world that we don't particularly want to live in." Kenny Ausubel, founder of Bioneers (from the 11th Hour).

Want more facts? Here are 5 quotations by some very intelligent people that you might find interesting:

1. There have been many significant events that have occurred in the last 10 years that directly and scientifically point to the fact that the planet is warming up and fast such as "trickling meltwater from the glaciers of the Andes Mountains that will soon leave many people on Bolivia's mountainside villages with no water to irrigate their crops and, after that, not even enough to drink. It is visible in the rising waters of the Pacific Ocean that recently prompted the Prime Minister of New Zealand to offer a haven to the residents of the island of Tuvalu as it slowly goes under. It is evident in the floods that in 2002 inundated whole cities in Germany, Russia and the Czech Republic. . . and in the United States, the record-setting 412 tornadoes that leveled whole towns during a ten-day span in May 2003." - Boiling Point by Ross Gelbspan
2. "As the oceans get warmer, storms get stronger. In 2004, Florida was hit by four unusually powerful hurricanes. . and Japan set an all-time record for typhoons (10 vs. 7 the previous year). In 2006, Australia was hit by several unusually strong, Category 5 cyclones including Cyclone Monica, the strongest cyclone ever measured, off the coast of Australia- stronger than Hurricanes Katrina, Rita or Wilma."- Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth
3. "Asthma is a chronic health condition characterized by shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. The symptoms and severity of asthma attacks can range from mildly annoying to painfully debilitating, depending on the individual. In the United States, more than 20 million people — about 7 percent of the population" ( There have been several studies linking pollution to asthma.
4. "Let us not destroy especially the forested mountains. Because if you destroy the forests on these mountains, the rivers will stop flowing and the rains will become irregular and the crops will fail- and you will die of hunger and starvation." - Wangari Maathai from The 11th Hour
5. "Malaria. Dengue Fever. Encephalitis. These names are not usually heard in emergency rooms and doctors’ offices in the United States. But if we don’t act to curb global warming, they will be. As temperatures rise, disease-carrying mosquitoes and rodents spread, infecting people in their wake. Doctors at the Harvard Medical School have linked recent U.S. outbreaks of dengue fever, malaria, hantavirus and other diseases directly to climate change".- Laurie David,

I could go on and on. There is so much information and so much evidence. Just keep your eyes and ears open, learn as much as you can and take action. Here are 5 things you can do today to help reduce your impact on the climate change.

1. Sign up for clean energy! You can actually get your electricity from a wind farm even if it is not in your backyard. We do. See

2. Replace your lightbulbs with super efficient compact flourescent lights (CFLs). With the conventional light bulbs, "only 10% of the energy they consume actually generates illumination, while 90% of it is lost in the form of heat. While CFL bulbs cost more upfront they last up to 10,000 hours-10 times longer than incandescent bulbs and use 66% less energy"- Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth

3. Stop idling your car- outside your home, while you talk to a friend, at the drive thru.

4. "Paper manufacturing is the fourth most energy- intensive industry not to mention one of the most polluting and destructive to our forests. It takes an entire forest - more than 500,000 trees- to supply Americans with their Sunday newspapers each week." Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth. So, of course recycle your newspaper or read it online. Use cloth paper towels, cloth napkins and resuable plates at picnics instead of paper ones. Click here for more ideas.

5. Walk to your destination. Ride a bike or use mass transit. Enjoy the outdoors. It's what we are fighting for!

Also, see read the NRDC site, follow them on twitter, donate to their cause. We do. We give 1% of our revenue to the NRDC. They are an amazing organization and actually get things done!

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