earth day

Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2008-04-22 11:30

Today is Earth Day – named such in the hope that it will inspire awareness of and appreciation for our Earth’s environment. As a planet, we’ve been observing Earth Day on April 22 for 38 years – it was launched as a protest against corporate environmental misconduct in 1970.

©R.Kanatnikov©R.KanatnikovEarth Day is a noble movement that deserves to be heard. We were contacted by a local newspaper exploring what South Africans were doing to celebrate Earth Day. Despite diligent digging, we came up with nothing, nada, which we wrote off to general apathy, lack of awareness and several inconveniences at home (load shedding, Zim crisis, embarrassing gaffs by politicians…)

But lack of a local event isn’t due to lack of concern. If anything, the world has never focussed as much on the environment as now – every corporate player and manufacturer is laying claim to their efforts to save the planet; governments and business have international environmental marketing campaigns, never mind a mere Earth Day, to blaze their green trails all over the world.

One can appreciate how the impact of a single day set aside to explore the predicament of our environment might have been sidelined by corporate and government bandstanding.

Dare I say that we have become hardened to the fact that as a species since 1970 we’ve collectively dumped 70 million tons of global warming pollution a day into the atmosphere; food is scarce because we’re so busy growing food crops for biofuels; 30% of species are on an extinction list; the collapsing north polar ice cap may have as little as 22 years left before it vanishes; the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere is set to double within the next 50 years, and that our water supplies are rapidly depleting – to quote the times of India: “in these years (the last 38) the planet has been mauled so collectively and nastily that its longevity has literally shrunk a million times.”

All of this despite the consistent global huddles to discuss ways and means of saving the planet from man’s blunders – at the end of the day, it’s a movement “full of sound and fury signifying nothing”. [timesofindia]

The Washington Post has hit the nail on the head with its headlines – “What killed Earth Day? Too much fuss and no bother.” [washingtonpost] Despite the fact that people all over the world today are taking part in activities to highlight the predicament of our Earth [earthday.net] many feel that the situation is now so critical that movements by the earth’s citizens need to become strong enough to hold their representatives at Earth summits accountable so that they produce concrete measures, instead of charts and ramblings about an imagined future that is at risk of never emerging.

“It is time that Environment emerges from the loony fringe of five-year plan segmentation. It needs to be as important for lawmakers as issues of poverty alleviation and defence. Funds should be prioritized; focus shifted to eco-industrialization and penalties made so harsh for defaulters that threats to environment recede faster than low tide.” [timesofindia]

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