Earth Day 2016

earthday55Today is Earth Day. I’m old enough to remember the very first Earth Day in 1970. I was in middle school, and our entire science class took the day off from the classroom, and headed to a nearby creek area to clean it up. It had been used as a dumping ground of sorts, people discarding used items there. We had been studying the environmental concerns in class, specifically the water pollution. Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring, had figured prominently in our discussions.

So here we are, 46 years later, and we are still struggling with environmental issues. Unfortunately, the same problems exists. The interests of big business, and politicians funded by those businesses muck up the process of addressing issues. Global warming has become politicized, and of course, the deniers are out in force. Record heat, record rain, the increase in powerful storms don’t seem to faze these people. It seems that Florida will have to be covered by water before some accept the facts.

As a family, we do what we can. We try to buy less, use less, drive less, recycle, and reuse. What’s odd is that I know a lot of people in their early 30’s who don’t seem to be concerned about this. They don’t recycle, and they buy new phones, cars, houses, on a continual basis. They use Keurig cups by the bushel full, and toss them in the garbage. They eat out on a regular basis, often coming away with styrofoam containers with leftovers.

I worry that society will wake up too late. It almost is too late. We have floating islands of plastic in the oceans. Whales are dying from ingesting so much crap in the oceans. Ice caps are melting, polar bears and other arctic life are dying, and yet, we still twiddle our thumbs. I just hope we wake up before it’s completely too late.