The day was hot, yet a welcome breeze blew, rippling through the Earth Day flags. There were hundreds of them as far as Annie could see in every direction. The energy of the march was palpable. All around her were people carrying signs. She pointed out one to LJ, “do you see what that says? There’s a way to do it better – find it. By Thomas Edison. I love it.”
LJ nodded at another, “look at that one; it’s my favorite quote.” There is no planet B. “I think people are starting to realize it’s up to all of us; we are our only solution to save the earth.”
“Yes, seeing this many people out for this year’s Earth Day does give me hope. Did you know the first Earth Day took place in 1970? The catalyst for the movement was three-fold. First, in 1962, Silent Spring by Rachel Carson was published. It was an alarming indictment of the Industrial Revolution’s damage to our air, water, and land. The book further pointed out the link between pollution and the rise in public health issues. Second, in 1969 a massive oil spill took place off Santa Barbara, California; over 4 million gallons of oil destroyed the shoreline and killed thousands of birds, marine animals, sea lions, dolphins, and elephant seals. The spill was the stimulus for our modern-day environmental movement. Third, this was also a time when the Vietnam war protests were at their height, so for many marching and protesting to force the federal government to enact regulations and laws to protect earth was not a difficult pivot.”
“I remember those days,” said LJ. “The first Earth Day saw 20 million Americans demonstrate in organized rallies. Today, over a billion people around the world participate annually. The creation of the US Environmental Protection Agency is one of Earth Day supporters’ early achievements. Laws such as the National Environmental Education Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the Clean Water Act are also the result of Earth Day activism. Two years later, in 1973, the Endangered Species Act became law. These laws have saved millions of humans, species, and animals.”
“You are right, LJ. Much has been accomplished, there’s still much to do, and we are rapidly approaching a tipping point of no return. Collective will is what it will take to save our planet, the same way the movement started; everyone got involved, whether you were liberal, conservative, old, young, rich, or poor; everyone knew we were in this together. Today, there are many easy opportunities to participate. For example, if we focus on how and what we eat, there are ways to reduce global warming and climate change by adopting new habits around food.”
Transportation: shop at Farmer’s markets where local food is sold. It is better for the environment due to the shorter distance required to transport it, meaning fewer greenhouse emissions from truck exhaust or jet fuel.
Fashion Sustainability: buy clothing made from bamboo, fruit, and vegetables instead of cotton and polyester. Bamboo textiles are eco-friendly as bamboo proliferates, needs little water, and sequesters a large amount of carbon dioxide. Fruit and vegetable skin can be made into durable fabrics with no adverse impact on the earth.
It takes more than 792 gallons of water to make one cotton t-shirt. Polyester is made from plastic; when washed, its microfibers wind up in the ocean, where it is eaten by the fish we eat.
Plastic Pollution: Support the earth by carrying your utensils, travel mugs, personal water bottles, and reusable straws. Use beeswax wraps and glass containers for storage.
Wildlife: eat primarily plant-based food. Agriculture is the biggest threat to 86% of the 28,000 wildlife and species currently at risk of extinction. Livestock takes up nearly 80% of earth’s agricultural land yet produces less than 20% of the world’s needed supply of calories.
Regenerative Agriculture, buy foods grown using regenerative farming. It is a method that restores soil by utilizing no-till farming and cover cropping to reduce erosion and water pollution. Regenerative farming is also effective in carbon capture, helping reverse traditional agriculture’s role in global warming.
World Clean-Up Day (September 17), you can do your part from home to keep the world clean by not wasting food and composting. According to the UN Environment Program, nearly 17% of global food production goes to waste. Food Waste Index Report 2021, with 61% of this waste from households, 26% from food service, and 13% from retail.
Annie and LJ are a fictional couple. Their storyline promotes healthy eating and earth-friendly practices.