April 22nd, 1970 was the very first Earth Day, making this year the 40th anniversary. It is a great celebration for light hearted environmentalists and eco warriros alike. A day to organize, educate, clean up streets, forests and shorelines and make an extra effort for the planet that we live on. This year’s theme is all about taking action.
Essentially, we should be making Earth Day every day, but to what extent do we really devote ourselves to making sure our home is healthy- for everyone? Forty years after the first declaration for the Earth, we are in greater peril than any other time in human history.
We are currently in the middle of the 6th mass extinction, singifying a massive reduction in the planet’s biodiversity. A major contributing factor to this extinction is climate change and habitat destruction. A classic catch-22 is the outcry for non-fossil fuel sources, which increased a demand for palm oil and corn, which leads to massive tracts of deforestation in lush regions of the world.
It’s hard to keep your chin up. The situation is bad. Really bad. If history teaches us anything, it is that we can be a smart, industrious species at times. We can look at our world of crisis as a world of opportunity if we can bear to shuffle our feet on the ecological path a little longer, like the people at Grist magazine are encouraging to do with this Earth day ditty.
It’s easy to give up, to be cynical, to work hard for something. That path is also incredibly boring and places yourself in the middle of the problem rather than the solution. Even the little things help.
Picking up some litter and putting it in the trash will not save the world or stop people from littering, but it is a step in the right direction and sends the right message. So will walking to the store instead of taking the car, avoiding things that have too much packaging, opting for local, organic produce, buying fair trade coffee, sugar, bananas and chocolate, volunteering, seeing what your municipality’s environmental council is up to, voting, writing to your members of parliament, chatting up eco responsibility with your friends and family, and making environmental stewardship sexy in your own way.
What will you do for Earth Day? You can start by closing the computer and going outside.