Earth Day

April 18, 2010
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Earth day. Just another gimmick about all that environmental awareness, carbon footprints, global warming, fossil fuels... You roll your eyes at the sound of the name. 22nd of April. It might just be any other normal day. Nothing different, not even when it’s the 40th anniversary. Stupid, isn’t it, to pick one day and name it earth day when we are living on earth every day. We might as well call every day earth day.

True- you’ve finally realized it. We’re living on this planet called earth. We, homo sapiens, for 200,000 years. That’s 2000 times of your own life if you can live till 100. Do you enjoy life? 4 billion years ago- that’s 2000 times the period of human existence- life first appeared. Here when you talk about life, you mean the life of a homo sapiens, right? Yet what are we, this “life” compared to the 4 billion years of life?

But perhaps we don’t realize what can happen during a lifespan of a homo sapiens. 50 years- a very short period of time. We’ve discovered fossil fuels and geared it to full use. Since we’ve dug up energy from the ground, we’ve escaped our own toil. Agriculture is done by machines, creating surpluses. Cattle are raised in factory style, fed with grain, without even seeing any blade of grass. Cities spring up along with skyscrapers, renewing green with grey concrete. Turn on a switch and you get electricity. Turn a tap you get fresh water. Take out your purse and you get resources at your command.

But is that all of the world? 5000 people die a day of dirty drinking water, that’s approximately one every 17 seconds. 1 billion people are going hungry this very moment yet 50% grain goes to animal feed or biofuels. 40% of arable lands suffer long term damages and species die out 1000 times faster than natural rate. This is our world now. Earth. The place we call our home. Does it matter?

Is it ethical to disrupt the perfect balance between different species that has existed long before human beings? Is it ethical to lead other species into extinction because of this one species? Even if it is not about other species, is it ethical to spend 12 times more on military expenses than on helping developing countries where people may be dying and bearing the consequences of this disrupted balance?

Yes, earth day is just like any other day we spend on earth. But perhaps we should pause and think a little. Are environmental issues only slogans, faraway things that do not concern us? Are we at peace with the idea that people, animals, plants, or anything related in the balance of nature, is suffering and struggling for what we are doing now? We are murderers of Mother Nature, which raised us. In the last 40 years since earth day first begun, the ice caps have already gone 40% thinner. Establishing earth day alone does not stop the balance of nature from being disrupted. In the end it is not only about that one day. It is about human kind.

We, as the 20% that consumes 80% of the world’s resources, have to bear responsibility. We are lucky enough to be educated. We have knowledge. Knowledge is not only about getting straight As and proceeding to a good career only. Knowledge is awareness, of knowing where we, human kind as a whole are heading in 10 years’ time. Knowledge is responsibility, not only for yourself, or for your family, but for your country, for the future generations and most importantly, for the world. Knowledge is power, and we have that power. The power of action, the power of change, the power of influence, the power of love- not only within our own species but love towards our planet and the balance on it- the very thing we depend on with our lives.

With knowledge, we have the power of a choice. We have a choice to know yet do nothing because it has nothing to do with you yet, or the choice to get up and do something about it. Earth day can be just any other day, or it can be a turning point to advance climate policy, energy efficiency, renewable energy and green jobs. It all depends on the decisions we make.

We have to believe that what we are doing is making a difference. We may not be able to see the significance of individual actions, yet to think of it, they are the very individual actions that led to the situation now. Nothing is going to change if everyone sits back and wait for changes to happen. The whole human kind are made up of individuals- be it a child or the president of a government, we all have a role to play in this balance. With collected efforts, the impact can be huge- one by one, that’s how influence is spread.

Individual actions turn into local actions, then to national and international levels. In nature, everything is linked. We all share the same atmosphere, the same ocean and the same land. Our actions are linked by Mother Nature. Every action affects something in this balance.

Globalization is no longer a dream but the reality. Earth day is an international action, a chance for us to realize we are able to do something, and we have to do something. Earth day 2010 is a chance for us to link together even more closely and make a difference. It is a global referendum on climate change- to raise awareness and provoke changes, from the lifestyle of individuals to actions of world leaders. More than 1 billion people from 190 countries are taking action for earth day already, with 131 campaigns going on.

Be willing to change. It is too late to give up. We are not sacrificing. We are only returning to nature what we have forcefully taken from it. Knowledge and action is power.

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Pumpkinscout said...
Sept. 24, 2011 at 7:40 am
This is AMAZING! You are SO right!!! You made your point well, you used statistics which show you know your topic and aren't just ranting but have done some real research, and you use your passion to ome up with one of the best environmental essays on this website. Wow. I really agree with you, we, as the people who use up so much of the earth's bounty, should take responsibility for our own actions. And it really is sad that while people in many countries have no clean water and little to no fo... (more »)
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