Today is Earth Day! How do you celebrate?
Is the earth better off today than it was when the first Earth Day was proclaimed in 1970 — have we made progress together in helping cure the earth or have we only made things worse?
Here’s the official word from the administration concerning Earth Day’s federal “Environmental Highlights:”


  • This progress will continue with implementation of
    the Administration’s new Clean Air Interstate Rule, the Clean Air
    Non-road Diesel Rule, and the President’s Clear Skies legislation,
    which will result in a 70 percent cut in sulfur dioxide, nitrogen
    oxides and mercury emissions from power plants.
  • The trend of
    annual loss of wetlands has been reversed, and steady progress is being
    made on President Bush’s Earth Day 2004 Wetlands Initiative, which will
    create, improve, and protect at least three million wetland acres over
    the next five years in order to increase overall wetland acres and
    quality.
  • Restoration and redevelopment of abandoned
    industrial sites known as brownfields is accelerating at a faster pace
    than before due to legislation supported and signed by President Bush
    early in his first term. Since 2001, nearly 1,500 brownfield sites are
    now ready for productive reuse, protecting public health, leveraging
    jobs, and revitalizing communities.
  • The President is meeting
    his commitment to reduce the National Park Service maintenance backlog.
    His 2006 budget request includes a $144 million increase over 2005
    enacted levels for maintenance and construction at our parks, meeting
    his funding commitment of $4.9 billion over five years.

Are you impressed with those words?
If not, what is not being expressed and what is really being said?

How can we move beyond mere talk and move into action that matters?
Do you actively recycle?
Do you recycle for joy or because the law requires it of you?
Is the earth really in danger or not?

It’s too bad we only celebrate Earth Day once a year.
Every day should be Earth Day to remind us how lucky we are in sharing the land, sky, wind and rain.

25 Comments

  1. Right David!
    Everyday should be Earth Day to give us an opportunity to express our gratitude for enjoying the natural resources – we just take it for granted instead!

  2. The following was sent to me by US Congressman Eliot Engel — serving the Bronx, Westchester and Rockland in New York — I am impressed with his message!

    Today is Earth Day. It is a day to remember how precious the Earth is and how we must be good stewards of what we have been given. To honor this duty, it is imperative we curb global warming and achieve energy independence.
    Combating global warming and becoming truly energy independent are two of the greatest challenges of our time. But the longer we wait to address these issues, the greater the risk we place on our economy, our environment, and our national security. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to act now.
    Recently, the debate about global warming officially ended. In February, the world’s top climate scientists wrote a landmark report that concluded global warming is real, it is dangerous, and it is caused by human activity such as burning fossil fuels. The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was agreed to by more than 100 countries and represents the work of thousands of scientists from around the world.
    Unfortunately, this Administration continues to make excuses instead of taking serious action. By contrast, the new majority is acting quickly and rapidly to expand the production of clean, alternative energy and reduce our use of oil. Our country can both reduce global warming and make America more energy independent.
    In the first 100 hours of this Congress, the House of Representatives passed a measure which repeals $14 billion in subsidies given to Big Oil companies and shifts those resources into investments in clean, alternative energy and energy efficiency. In addition, the House has adopted a budget that places a high priority on tackling global warming and making America more energy independent.
    I also pledge to continue my work to secure passage of my legislation, H.R. 607, the bi-partisan DRIVE Act. This measure sets visionary, meaningful, and achievable goals to reduce dependence on imported oil by 2.5 million barrels per day by 2015 and 5 million barrels per day by 2025. It encourages the development of oil saving technologies and biofuels nationwide without adversely impacting air quality. By lowering our consumption of oil, we will dramatically improve our national security, economic strength, and environmental health while providing consumers and businesses with the same level of safety, versatility and choice they demand from today’s fossil fueled cars and trucks. These proposed solutions are vital steps to decreasing our nation’s pollution problems and addressing global warming.
    Global warming is not solely caused by the transportation sector. That is why I am also co-sponsor of the Climate Stewardship Act, a bill designed to implement a cap and trade system for greenhouse gas emissions. This bill will help reduce emissions economy wide by 70% of 1990 levels, while also giving businesses the flexibility and time to achieve these reductions without harming our economy.
    Please enjoy Earth Day and remember that as a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee I will remain vigilant in my efforts to protect the environment.

  3. Same to you David!
    Your question asks for an answer that should probe beneath the surface.
    I don’t remember India being environmentally conscious before this Bhopal tragedy:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/december/3/newsid_2698000/2698709.stm
    60% of the population is so busy to find a way to meet their daily basic needs that any other thing is considered luxury to them.
    Moreover, they lack awareness, as well as oblivious to the consequence.
    The middleclass segment too, were equally detached and disengaged about caring anything except their immediate interest.
    I remember seeing a general trend about taking care of the mother Earth emerged in ’80s where the social activists, environmentalists and media took the lead role. But still, we have a long way to go.

  4. Hi Katha!
    Yes, I remember that chemical tragedy in India! It was a Duracell battery plant, right?
    Do people recycle in India? If so, is it required by law?
    You you find people in your area of the USA willingly recycle or not?

  5. David,
    As far as I remember the tragedy happened in a Union Carbide chemical factory in Bhopal, the brand name of their battery products were Eveready, later known as Energizer.
    In USA, Wisconsin was way more conscious about recycling and provided opportunity to planned recycling, Fargo doesn’t seem to be that way.
    Recycling was around in India for years, it was an unorganized and informal trade, also a means for a significant part of the population to earn their living. People connected with this trade come to houses to collect old newspapers, tins, bottles, cloth and other solid waste and sell those to various small recycling factories.
    The scenario I gave here is actually not that simple because it has a very poor work condition, lacks proper infrastructure and not recognized by the government or supported either.
    I am not aware of any mandatory law of recycling of daily waste in India, though some metro cities started to recycle consciously. There are laws about chemical or other factory waste or pollution.

  6. There are various mandatory standards – car emissions, factory emissions, water pollution regulations – disposal of asbestos, oils, fluids, medical waste.
    We also have a tax on landfill now to encourage recycling – in some of the urban areas wheelie bins are chipped to monitor waste.
    We all have recycling collections as well as refuse collections. Larger cars, Hummers, SUV’s etc will also be paying higher rate road tax. All white goods ( fridges, freezers, washing machines etc) have to be disposed of in a special way.
    Large areas of Moorland and Heathland are National Parks and enjoy special protection.
    Green homes built to certain standards are going to receive local tax rebates.
    Most of our supermarkets have recycling centres attached to them.
    We also have a thriving Freecycle network.
    There is also a proposal to phase out light bulbs from use and only use the new energy efficient ones.
    (then there are people like me who refuse to throw anything out – or replace anything that isn’t broken.)

  7. Hi Katha!
    Right! It was Union Carbide, not Duracell. Thanks for the correction.
    I can imagine Wisconsin is a big recycle state.
    It seems most of the heavy recycling programs in the USA are on the coasts where there isn’t a lot of easy landfill available to dump trash.
    Unfortunately, for recycling to really work the local and state governments must make it mandatory and punishable if you don’t comply — otherwise, it won’t work because partial compliance means nothing.

  8. Thanks for the exquisite insight, Nicola!
    Can you explain what “in some of the urban areas wheelie bins are chipped to monitor waste” means?
    What’s a wheelie what does it mean to get chipped?
    I like the freecycle thing. Neat idea!
    Are there any benefits to retroactively make your home green? Would you get go with wind and solar power only?

  9. We have authority provided dustbins in a certain shape, with wheels then can be affixed to the back of refuse trucks and lifted in by machinery. They have the nickname “wheelie bins”.
    Here is a post and pictures written by me last August
    http://msdemmie.wordpress.com/2006/08/27/big-bin-is-watching-us-rubbish/
    In certain areas these now have microchips embedded in them ( similar to the staples I think) that can record how much rubbish is throw away by each household , each week/month/year. It is expected that if you go over your quota you will be charged extra ( on top of what we already pay as part of our local taxes).
    What is a little less savoury is that they are now planning to only collect out rubbish every two weeks ……….. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6457165.stm
    I think this is going to cause horrendous problems with smell and with vermin.

  10. Thanks for the insight, Nicola!
    “Wheelie Bins” is my new favorite phrase! 😀 I think we just call those things “garbage cans” even if they’re plastic and they have wheels.
    I love your blog entry. You’re so funny in your legitimate outrage! 😆
    Every 2 weeks? How can that be tolerated? We get refuse picked up twice a week here — overnight so as not to tie up traffic during the day — I cannot image how much having a 2 week wait would be detrimental to public health!

  11. Celebrate earth day ? Of course not !! I’m not some hippy named trail mix or crunchy granola, and it’s nothing but pure arrogance to think that we could ever reverse mother nature’s plans. What a colossal waste of time and energy !! As my paternal grandmother, obm, used to say, FEH !!!

  12. I heard a ridiculously cool idea on the radio today, we should have one litter day, where everyone can independently destroy the world at their own discretion without any problem whatsoever, and every other day should be earth day. Surely it would not take three hundred and sixty four days to clean up one days mess, but how can we be expected to effectively clean up three hundred and sixty four days of waste in one?!?
    We need the laziness, we need the control. People are concerned with the environment, but only for the same reason they arent: because of the bottom line, the final ledger. Its only when people get convinced that their doing something important for the end of anything that they will change.

  13. I think, Mathieu, if we can all be responsible for our own trash things will get better fast. Don’t litter. Recycle. Try to purchase eco-friendly products. Be aware of ways to lessen your contribution to pollution…