Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day

Today we are celebrating none other than our beautiful planet Earth, or what’s left of it. There are certainly still gorgeous places to visit and magnificent landscapes to admire, but the number of destroyed and polluted areas increases dramatically with every word I type today.

April 22 was first marked as Earth Day in 1970 when Gaylord Nelson, a US Senator from Wisconsin, outraged by a massive oil spill in the previous year and inspired by the anti-war movement, decided to take a stand and convince people to join hands in a movement for sustainable environment and against water and air pollution. That year, millions of Americans participated in a wide-spread protest against deterioration of the environment. In 1990, Earth Day became a global initiative (The Earth Day Network). 

Even though protecting the environment is now a world issue, there are still many who believe that pollution, deforestation, and mostly global warming are a huge hoax. And that’s their right to do so. But when there are signs all around pointing to the opposite, they can call it whatever they want, it still doesn’t change the fact that humans are slowly destroying the diverse, well-organized and only home that they have. 

First, researchers studying the ice of Greenland have witnessed and experienced first hand the increasing meltdown. Eskimo villages have had to relocate and the future of the polar bear has been threatened.
Next, it is estimated that around 35 to over a 100 species become extinct every day. It is important to realize that even the smallest and seemingly insignificant organism has its place in the cycle of life and without it, the cycle is placed off balance. A great example of what impact an organism has in the chain is the one of gray wolves re-introduced to Yellowstone National Park. This is marked as one of the most successful conservationist efforts. 

Moreover, deforestation continues to spread rampant in the Amazon Rainforest. On the average, 7,000 square miles are cut and burned every day. Considering that the forest produces 20% of the oxygen we all need to breathe and live, its destruction must be a concern for all and its protection must be on everyone’s agenda. 

The above three examples are just a small portion of the large amount of evidence pointing to the fact that humans are methodically and surely contributing to the obliteration of the planet Earth, the only one that we know of that can support us. Most of the information I have provided can be found in the two documentary movies I have listed below. I would strongly recommend them to anyone interested in finding more about both the grandeur and fragility of our planet. 

- Krasi

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