This year, according to the official website, Earth Day is all about environmental and climate literacy. In a time when our country’s leadership and political agenda are at odds with solving the issues of climate change, Earth Day is more important than ever.
Last month, when President Donald Trump issued his highly-anticipated executive order to dismantle previous government efforts to combat climate change, he brought us into an era where climate denial is legitimized despite overwhelming evidence of rapid climate change. It also set the stage for legislation that will not only impact the United States, but set the world back in the unifying effort to protect the planet.
Obama EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy went on record to state: “This is not just dangerous; it’s embarrassing to us and our businesses on a global scale to be dismissing opportunities for new technologies, economic growth, and US leadership.”
What can we do in the face of such disregard for the planet, our future, and our children? We can support this year’s Earth Day in full force.
One of the premier Earth Day 2017 happenings is The March for Science. It is a rally and teach-in event being held on the National Mall in Washington DC. Similar events will be held across the country to mobilize people to fight against efforts to silence science and to focus on supporting and creating community engagement, citizen science, and stewardship.
One such even is being held in San Diego, California. An expert in the spread of invasive species, and author of the ground-breaking book Caulerpa Conquest, which is about the real-life fight to save the California coast against a strain of killer seaweed, Eric Noel Muñoz is taking part in it.
Muñoz gives this advice: “The main lesson is to take local environmental challenges seriously. Form a team for swift and sound action. Realize that you can do this and your support matters.”
In Caulerpa Conquest, Muñoz tells the true account of how an invasive species of seaweed, Caulerpa taxifolia, first took hold in the Mediterranean Sea. When it made its way to San Diego’s Agua Hedionda Lagoon in Carlsbad, California, it was because of a tough fight, understanding the enemy, and working together, that the devastating damage was averted.
According to Muñoz, we can celebrate Earth Day by first, “Realizing that invasive species are mainly spread by human action. Don’t be an agent of diffusion for biological organisms; be wary of selective breeding and genetic modification of biological organisms.”
There are many additional ways to celebrate Earth Day. Here’s my quick list to help you and your community:
- Make Your Own “Act of Green” The possibilities are endless! An individualized approach, Acts of Green can range from writing letters to politicians who need to understand your concerns about the environment, to giving up smoking, to planting trees. Pick your passion when you make your own Act of Green. For more ideas, visit the Earth Day website.
- Speaking of Planting Trees—Do It! Not only is planting a tree in your back yard or local park rewarding (and a great activity to do with the family) but you can donate to The Canopy Project which works with organizations around the world that help communities through tree-planting. Find more information here.
- Eat Less Meat The meat industry is responsible for nearly 20% of the entire world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Because meat consumption around the globe has tripled in the last four decades, the industry now releases over 36 billion tons of greenhouse gases every year. Learn more and take the pledge to eat less meat by going Meatless on Mondays.
- Read a Book About Environmental Causes
Take a moment to educate yourself and make a real impact against the threats to our environment. Whether you are a business owner, an investor, a working professional, a student, a parent, or retired—you are a citizen of Earth. Take the time to pick up a book about the environment, then share it with someone you love.
Our top five picks include:
1. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond
2. Caulerpa Conquest: A Biological Eradication on the California Coast by Eric Noel Muñoz
3. Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future by Donald R. Prothero
4. The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert
5. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
- Take Part in an Earth Day March or Activity Like I stated earlier, there are marches and Earth Day activities all over the United States and the globe. Find like-minded people and share in the festivities. There are many ways you can help, both big and small, but you won’t be exposed to the possibilities if you stay inside this Earth Day.
For a list of events in your community, visit the official Earth Day website here.
Above all else, just remember what the Lorax says, “Unless someone like you…cares a whole awful lot…nothing is going to get better…It’s not.”