Here’s a piece titled Earth Day: Then And Now Mike Sweeney, the Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy in California by way of the San Francisco Chronicle....stick with us, it may not be what you think...
“Act or die.” A pretty grave message from the very first Earth Day in 1970… It was even more solemnly reported by Walter Cronkite on a CBS news special. Today that same message would probably prompt a good deal of smirks or scoffs, a stretch for most people to take seriously. That year, though, 20 million people nationwide turned out for Earth Day. An important wake-up call, it sparked the environmental movement leading to things like the Environmental Protection Agency, the Endangered Species Act, and major amendments to the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, which continue to have a huge impact.
|(Brian Lackey, My Shot)|
More than forty years down the road a lot’s changed. One of the biggest changes is our population. We’ve got seven billion people walking around planet Earth. That’s almost double what it was in 1970. It’s brought up a lot of new challenges to think about. How do we feed everyone? How do we build homes for everyone? How do we make sure everyone has enough water? We need to figure it out without destroying the natural world, since we depend on it to provide for all of our needs.
Trying to meet these needs we’ve already messed with the planet enough to show up in the geologic record. We’ve changed 75 percent of the land on Earth (that’s not covered in ice) from its “natural” state to one shaped by people. It’s a new geologic age, the Age of Man. And it doesn’t have to be a natural disaster.
We need to figure out what conservation looks like in this new age. It’s important that we keep the untouched lands pristine. But more and more we need to figure out how to keep room for a wide diversity of nature on the 75 percent of lands that we use every day. We can’t have nature conservation only focused on the 25 percent we haven’t managed to transform yet. That means looking to farms, fisheries, timberlands, and yes, the ultimate human landscape, cities. The Nature Conservancy’s chief scientist Peter Kareiva has some ground-breaking views on this, and it’s inspired a lot of necessary debate.
We don’t really get to decide whether or not the environment or nature matters. It’s not “act or die.” It’s act to improve the quality of your life, and your family’s lives. People depend on the environment no matter whether you care about it or not. Planet Earth is also a pretty amazing place. These photos and this video are both great reminders. So think about how nature makes your life better this Earth Day.
|(Paul Sharpe, My Shot )|