Archive for the ‘Earth Day’ Category

Earth Day 2009

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

April 22nd has always been  a special occasion in our family, a celebration way before we even knew there was an  ‘Earth Day’. You see, April 22nd is also my brother’s birthday – so bear with me when I shout – HAVE A HAPPY BIRTHDAY, and many more, brother dear! He is still my baby brother and I love him dearly, even though his beard these days is more white than brown, and his hair, well, as they say, god gives and god taketh away ;)

Which brings me to this day when we supposedly stop to think about our earth and how we take care of it.  Maybe therein lies the problem – one day out of the year? If we want to see any measure of progress we have to be aware not once a year but every single day in how we live our lives, in the actions we take as individuals and as a group.

A year ago things looked quite dire and the temptation to give in to desperation was huge. Now? I have a strong feeling that things are beginning to head in a very different direction. The new administration is moving right along proposing changes that are good for the environment and even attempting to undo what the previous administration so casually and callously implemented.

And still – if I only look at the reports within the past month or so – scary stuff.

;( Promises by the biotechnology industry that its genetically engineered crops will produce higher yields turns out to be not quite factual. The increase in yield is negligible, the use of pesticide and fertilizer however quite large.

;( Reports claiming that U.S. manufacturers, including major drug companies, have released at least 271 million pounds (!) of pharmaceuticals into waterways that provide drinking water. Quite legally it seems.

;( A story about legal issues related to the pesticide ICON manufactored by  Bayer CropScience. It appears that when rice farmers used ICON to control rice weevils the pesticide also sterilized crawfish which were raised in the same fields as the rice. Splitting hairs whether this unfortunate event is caused by negligence or callousness, the end result is still the spoiling of the environment, countless people losing their livelihood, and it will take years and years to eliminate the results of these poisons.

Scary, isn’t it! The motive? None other than greed.

But, there is also positive news.

-) ‘The US government is to regulate carbon dioxide emissions, having decided that it and five other greenhouse gases may endanger human health and well-being.’ This is quite a switch from the Bush administration which ruled that California for instance could not set targets for vehicle efficiency.

-) The administration has a ‘Vision of High-Speed Rail in America‘ that would link communities across the U.S.

-) Under pressure from shareholders McDonald’s will opt for less pesticides in potatoes used in their kitchens.

-) Good news also on my side of the ocean – Germany barred genetically modified corn even though it is allowed (encouraged?) by the European Union, and of course by the chemical companies that manufacture it.

So on this Earth Day of 2009 I hope that we all come to realize that if we do not take responsibility for our actions in our daily lives, put pressure on our government, on various companies that put profit over environment, on anyone who can make a difference, we may not have much to pass on to our children and their children. As I look out my window the sun is shining, the apple trees are in full bloom, birds are singing, what a treasure we have. Let us treat our earth with the care it deserves, and give the generations that follow a chance to enjoy a healthy environment where the water runs clear and the air smells of flowers.