Giving Special Thanks
In celebration of Earth Day 2019, ziggie would like to give special thanks to participants in the Global Climate Strike----students who walked out of their classrooms in over 100 countries to protest climate inaction. Like the proverbial canary in the coal mine warning miners of poison gas, these students are surfacing critical environmental issues that are impacting our species.
Seven billion of us inhabit Earth. We are the largest biomass in the history of the planet, connected by genetics and a shared global environment. Humans are so ubiquitous that we are transforming our natural systems and resources at an unprecedented rate, causing scientists to refer to this period as the Anthropocene, denoting human-centered impact on Earth.
While many of our exploits and “niche-whacking” have been overwhelmingly successful, we are also wreaking havoc on the Earth: 60% of animal species are in decline or have disappeared; climate change---the warming of the Earth due to human-caused increases in carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels and chemicals---is causing weather extremes that are killing large numbers of people, from floods in Africa to droughts in the Americas to rising sea levels displacing tens of millions of families and children.
Recently, for a project with Heifer International, I had a chance to review hydrology reports for Central and East Africa as well as South America. What I found was profoundly disturbing: complete river systems carrying significantly less water than a mere decade ago. And water insecure countries are food insecure as well, meaning famine to the people who live South of the Equator.
For the first time in history, we have the science, talent and money to limit our negative impacts and keep us from destroying our planet. Yet, many major institutions like leading corporations and government are making matters worse: JPMorgan and Wells Fargo, for example, have invested over $200 billion dollars in the oil industry over the last couple of years, from tar sands to oil wells to pipelines, accelerating global warming; and the US government’s failure to sign or adhere to the Paris Climate Accords to reduce green house gases is a sure sign of avoiding responsibility for damaging the Earth and its people.
Many activities can be undertaken to honor this day and the students who care about our future: call your local representatives and urge them to put climate change at the top of their concerns; write Tweets, blogs or send emails supporting climate action and student walkouts; tell your investment advisor to dump oil stocks; purchase sustainable or recycled goods and use mass transit. Or, make a cardboard sign that expresses protest in any way that you’d like and stand on a busy street corner. Instruct drivers from your sign to “honk if you agree,” so you can assess your results and get the appreciation you’ll deserve for getting in action. You won’t regret it.