Earth Day 2013: The view of one interested observer

Earth Day is many things to many people. It is a time of celebration and also a time for serious contemplation, as in contemplating what has been, and what is being and could be done to make the world better.

The_Earth_seen_from_Apollo_17[1]Furthermore, as a platform that allows participants the opportunity to devote time to focus attention on environmental sustainability and conservation and/or Earth-improvement-related activities, efforts and programs, it is important to recognize also that Earth Day is a small but essential tool to help the world understand the importance and necessity of taking care of the one and only world we inhabit – Earth. A key point here is that it is but one tool of many in raising awareness of environmental sustainability issues. That there is an Earth Day in this present day and age is comforting to know.

Getting in condition

Arguably, Earth Day also provides excellent opportunity to highlight the Earth’s condition. And as far as that goes, what condition is Earth in exactly?

My take is the world right now is in an environmental fix, meaning that the unhealthy state of ecological repair the planet is burdened with will be difficult to completely correct.

Take air pollution, as but one example. It’s real, oftentimes visible and its effects are both evident and felt.

"CO mixing ratio (ppbv) @ 850 hPa"
“CO mixing ratio (ppbv) @ 850 hPa”

In the San Joaquin Valley as just one of many localities where polluted air is pervasive and problematic, in Fresno County alone and the place I call home, roughly one in four is an asthma sufferer. The county has been referred to as the asthma capital of California. From what I have learned, ozone or smog can trigger asthma.

Less locally and more globally, because polluted air knows no boundaries, I believe there is no place on Earth that isn’t touched by contaminated air’s effects in some way.

This and other negative world environmental impacts, is doubtless the reason for Earth Day’s existence.

Where to go from here

320px-Giant_photovoltaic_array[1]That damage to the environment has come in many forms, in undoing that damage and in reversing course, so to speak, it will be no walk in the park meaning that the work ahead will no doubt at times seem daunting. But this is no reason not to try. The good news in all of this is there is a redeeming aspect, and that is technology and the role that that can play and is playing is advancing the fight to prevent further environmental degradation.

But make no mistake: A better job of protecting Mother Earth and her inhabitants – us – could and should and can be done. That message and its importance, perhaps more than anything else in today’s discussion, cannot be stressed enough.

Celebrate Earth

Every year since 1970, on Apr. 22nd we Earthlings have been given the opportunity to give the planet that we inhabit the respect it deserves. If never having done so in the past, then feel free to take the plunge – please.

With that said, it is laudable that there is a day set aside each year for the past 44 to pay homage. For this, I am truly grateful.

Earth Day 2013: Let the good times roll!

Biodiesel-powered bus
Biodiesel-powered bus

Top two images: NASA

– Alan Kandel