World Earth Day special
By Kamala Sarup
On April 22 every year we celebrate the World Earth Day. Every year
the Earth Day's Peace Bell ceremony at the UN brings together leaders
from countries around the world to promote understanding and choosing
the ways of peace.
Earth Day, that was inaugurated for the first time in 1970.
Environmental problems, population growth , natural resources like
clean water, arable farmland, forests, and fisheries are permanent
features of societies torn by internal strife.
Earth Day commemorates earth health and promotes making the
environment cleaner and safer. Its connection with war is that
munitions pollute the environment and mines are safety hazards. The
connection between Earth Day and industries is that they use the
earth's resources, many of which are nonrenewable. They also pollute
the land, sea and air. Therefore, there is an inconsistency between
the accumulation of material wealth through the expansion of
industries and the maintenance of an attractive and healthy
environment. Population growth also harms the environment because
more people require more land, water and air and the resources in
them. Unfortunately, continued population growth will deteriorate the
environment in spite of the best efforts of people to make the earth
cleaner and safer.
Earth Day Network, www.earthday.net, seeks to grow and diversify the
environmental movement worldwide. Dr. Robert Bullard of the
Environmental Justice Resource Center said "Global warming poses
special environmental justice challenges for communities that are
already overburdened with pollution and environmentally-related
illnesses. Those most affected must have a voice at the table in
shaping the solutions. EDN President Kathleen Rogers said "Women
leaders are already engaged in the new green economy and women have
always been the staunchest supporters of a healthy environment, so
this promises to be a highly engaging exchange of ideas and will
establish a blueprint for moving forward."
A 1993 US State Department report identifies land mines and other
unexploded ordnance as the most toxic and widespread pollutants facing
Assuming the world population continues to increase, and assuming that
poor people insist on having a "good life" equal to the rich, and
assuming we still want to stall the increase in atmospheric CO2, then
more green plants will be needed for both food and biofuel.
There is much talk but only a little action to reduce global warming, e.g.,
Kyoto Protocol, which the U.S. did not sign. Seems to me that the
combination of wind plus solar plus biomass scales for all power,
light and heat needs with minimal warming and pollution. Isn't that
the ideal solution, assuming that a practical electricity storage is
developed. Industries wherever they are exploit earth's
resources—most of which are nonrenewable. They also pollute the land,
sea and air. There is an inconsistency between the accumulation of
material wealth through the expansion of industries and the
maintenance of an attractive and healthy environment. Population
growth also harms the environment because more people require more
land, water and air and other resources. Unfortunately, continued
population growth will deteriorate the environment in spite of the
best efforts of people to make the earth cleaner and safer.
"Chemical pollution is everywhere: in the air, the soil, and the water. Everyone knows that. Scientists are totally in agreement that pollution does harm and some research is being done. Governments also are cleaning up the most polluted sites in the U.S. and in other countries. In the U.S., money has been spent since the
1970s on cleaning up buried industrial chemicals, fertilizer runoffs
into lakes and rivers, and sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions
in the air. They also eliminated certain chemicals from production,
e.g., lead, mercury, PVCs (polivinyl chlorides), asbestos, chlordane, etc. Regulations were tightened to curb excessive pollution". said an economist Mr. Stanly to me.
Therefore, it is likely that people who are especially sensitive to pollution, will continue to work so we can conduct educational programs throughout the world.