One Earth... And Nowhere Else To Go, Yet...
With the next earth-like planet over 40,000 light years away...and then, it may simply be false hope created by the Hubble Telescope, you'd think humans would take the above headline a little more serious.
It's hard to imagine that we've been aware of the vulnerability of our home and native planet for over 4 decades and we're still just scratching the surface today. A lot of good things came out of the sixties and seventies and peaceful disobedience and protest are two of them.
In 1970, Earth Day was founded by then Senator Gaylord Nelson. The peace and love movement was only a few years old, BIG Oil was really BIG and North Americans were consuming like never before.
In 43 years we have learned a lot about what we need to do to prevent the next self-imposed mass extinction...but we still don't want to give up our over indulgent lifestyles.
So What Can We Do Today To Help?
(And Don't forget to upload your Earth Day activity photo at the upload link below this article.)
These are just 10 of the things you can do right now to help save the environment.
1 Smart Shopping
“Buy what you need, not what you want”
Consider renting and borrowing things that are seldom needed
Buy used items from garage sales and second-hand stores
2 Simple Savers
Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs
Use aerators on faucets and shower heads
Weatherstrip windows and doors
3 Transportation Alternatives
Walk, cycle, car pool and use public transportation
When driving, reduce idling and maintain correct tire pressure
Consider car sharing programs or renting
4 Food Choices
Choose local and organic foods that are in season, and support local food producers.
5 Washing and Drying
Wash full loads of clothes in cold water and hang to air dry
6 Heating and cooling
For summer air conditioning, set your thermostat to 24°C or 25°C
For winter heating, set your thermostat to 19°C or 20°C
Install ceiling fans and programmable thermostats
7 Close to Home
Vacation, travel and work as close to home as possible
8 Bathroom Basics
Take short showers instead of baths
Close water taps while brushing your teeth...and, as always don't forget to flush...it'll help your home environment.
9 Careful Cleaning
Choose natural, non-toxic cleaning products
Make simple, natural cleaners with ingredients like vinegar, baking soda and water
10 Don’t Discard
Donate, reuse and recycle items before throwing them into the trash
Harmful materials like chemicals, batteries, electronics, etc. should be taken to local hazardous waste depots or recyclers
Above info © EarthDay.ca
CLICK Here to determine your own Eco-Footprint
Below is my Eco Foot Print:
I was surprized. Our home is an average size, I drive a fuel efficient car, I go away once per year. I eat what I believe to be an average amount of dairy, meat, fish and vegetables, yet it takes 10.5 football fields Or 8.5 hectares to support me on this earth. That's about 1.5 earths to support my lifestyle. WOW! And I'm under the impression that I do not live a wasteful life...go figure.
Take the above test (Canadians outside of Alberta will be lumped in with Calgarians as they are the only city thus far in Canada who has signed up for the program.
How many hectares or football fields does it take to sustain you?
The History of Earth Day
Earth Day -- April 22 -- each year marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970.
Among other things, 1970 in the United States brought with it the Kent State shootings, the advent of fiber optics, "Bridge Over Troubled Water," Apollo 13, the Beatles' last album, the death of Jimi Hendrix, the birth of Mariah Carey, and the meltdown of fuel rods in the Savannah River nuclear plant near Aiken, South Carolina -- an incident not acknowledged for 18 years.
It was into such a world that the very first Earth Day was born.
Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson (right photo), then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, proposed the first nationwide environmental protest "to shake up the political establishment and force this issue onto the national agenda. " "It was a gamble," he recalls, "but it worked."
At the time, Americans were slurping leaded gas through massive V8 sedans. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of legal consequences or bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. Environment was a word that appeared more often in spelling bees than on the evening news.
Earth Day 1970 turned that all around.
On April 22, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment. Denis Hayes, the national coordinator, and his youthful staff organized massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.
Photo right: Denis Hayes - Honorary Chair, Earth Day Network
Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species acts.
Sen. Nelson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom -- the highest honor given to civilians in the United States -- for his role as Earth Day founder.
As 1990 approached, a group of environmental leaders asked Denis Hayes to organize another big campaign. This time, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting the status of environmental issues on to the world stage. Earth Day 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
As the millennium approached, Hayes agreed to spearhead another campaign, this time focused on global warming and a push for clean energy. Earth Day 2000 combined the big-picture feistiness of the first Earth Day with the international grassroots activism of Earth Day 1990. For 2000, Earth Day had the Internet to help link activists around the world. By the time April 22 rolled around, 5,000 environmental groups around the world were on board, reaching out to hundreds of millions of people in a record 184 countries. Events varied: A talking drum chain traveled from village to village in Gabon, Africa, for example, while hundreds of thousands of people gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., USA.
Earth Day 2000 sent the message loud and clear that citizens the world 'round wanted quick and decisive action on clean energy.
Now, the fight for a clean environment continues. We invite you to be a part of this history and a part of Earth Day. Discover energy you didn't even know you had. Feel it rumble through the grass roots under your feet and the technology at your fingertips. Channel it into building a clean, healthy, diverse world for generations to come.
Facts Of Life On Earth
- By 2030 the number of automobiles in the world will increase by 50%.
- According to Chevron, the world consumes two barrels of oil for every barrel discovered.
- It took 125 years to consume the first trillion barrels of oil – the world will consume the next trillion in only 30 years, according to Chevron.
- By 2030 the world will consume 47% more oil than it did in 2003.
- During the last one hundred years the global temperature has warmed between 0.7-1.5°C.
- It is predicted that global temperatures in 2100 will be 1.4-5.8°C warmer than they were in 1990.
- The current pace of sea-level rise is 50% faster then in the last century.
- Scientists estimate the sea level will rise by 3.5-34.6 inches by 2100.
- Much of the United States has already warmed, by as much as 4°F.
- The five warmest years over last century have likely been: 2005, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2004.
- The top 10 warmest years have all occurred since 1990.
- Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, carbon dioxide (a green house gas linked to climate change) in the atmosphere has increased by 35%.
- Diseases such as malaria are predicted to spread as the world grows warmer, due to the carriers of disease spreading out over a larger geographical area.
- Of particular concern is the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. A sudden collapse would raise sea levels 16-20 feet, though the likelihood of such a collapse before the year 2100 is low.
- Despite natural emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by volcanoes, for example, human activities are now adding about 7 billion metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere every year.
- New energy discoveries are mainly occurring in places where resources are difficult to extract-physically, technically, economically, and politically.
- Oil production is in decline in 33 of the 48 largest oil producing countries,3 yet energy demand is increasing around the globe as economies grow and nations develop.
- Oil and gas currently provide more than half of the world’s energy supply, and according to the International - Energy Agency, they—along with coal (which also releases CO2)—will continue to be the major sources of energy well into the 21st century unless things are changed.
- The International Energy Agency estimates that the world will need to invest $16 trillion over the next three decades to maintain and expand energy supply.
- Over half the world’s oil supplies lie in just 5 countries.
- Agriculture and biodiversity are already being impacted by global warming. 10% of all known plant species are under threat of extinction.
- Over 20 Million Americans, 6.3 million of which are children, suffer from asthma. Public health experts are worries that those numbers will rise with continued greenhouse gas emissions.
- People living in cities such as Atlanta, Baltimore, and Cincinnati could by mid-century see a 60% increase in the number of high smog level days.
- Diseases such as malaria and West Nile virus will occur in large numbers in the United States as a result of warmer temperatures.
- The Arctic ice pack has lost an area about twice the size of Texas since the mid-1970's.
- Automobiles count for almost a third of the U.S.'s Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions - the
largest source after power plants.
- Each gallon of gasoline burned creates 20 pounds of CO2.
- Vehicles in the United States release more CO2 than all the energy sources (such as heating, electricity, vehicles, and factories) in all of India.
- As many as 15-37% of all wildlife species in some regions could be "committed to extinction" by 2050 years because of global climate change.
- Salmon, trout, and waterfowl are particularly vulnerable to climate change.
- Climate change is having a disastrous effect on coral reefs, including in the Florida Keys, the Bahamas, and Mexico.
- Winter temperatures in the Arctic have warmed by as much as 7° F over the last 60 years, a faster rate than in any other region. This affects wildlife such as foxes, caribou, walruses, and polar bears. It also affects the lifestyles of native peoples in the Arctic.
- By planting a large tree that creates shade, one can reduce heating and cooling costs annually by up to 40%.
Information © Earth Day Network