Not wanting to miss a beat and trying to always keep my finger on the environmental pulse, I learned for the first time today this is World Environment Day. April 22 was Earth Day. Apr. 27 to May 1 was Air Quality Awareness Week and May 11 to May 15 was National Transportation Week/National Infrastructure Week. I had much to write about for each of those recognized times.
Today’s thread is all about the environment. When the word “environment” is mentioned what comes to mind? The air, the land, the water? All of the above? What about flora and fauna – life itself; does this apply? It does in my book. What about the environmental movement? To me, it all qualifies.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in a press statement had these opening and concluding thoughts:
“Every person on Earth has a role to play in protecting the environment we share—on World Environment Day, June 5, and every day. … As nations and as individuals, we need to unite to protect our planet. We know what needs to be done; now we need to take action.”
Moreover, in the guide “30 Simple Energy Things You Can Do To Save The Earth,” in the section “Energy and the Environment,” listed are areas and/or issues that are quite frequently in the spotlight for reasons not too difficult to imagine. These are: “Air Pollution,” “Acid Rain,” “Water Pollution,” “The Greenhouse Effect,” “Habitat Change.” There are those along with this admonishment:
“Using too much energy doesn’t just waste resources—it affects the health of our planet. When you conserve energy, you not only lower your energy costs, you also reduce the need for more power plants, preserve natural resources, and decrease pollution. You should use energy only when you need it, and use only as much as you need.”1
In the western U.S. right now water is at historically low levels. The consensus seems to be that a pattern in the Pacific known as “El Nino” is apparently stronger than the one last year. It is my understanding based on what I’ve been reading and learning about this phenomenon, is that coupled with the warmer ocean temperatures associated with this El Nino pattern will be more rain come this fall in the American southwest. It has also been explained to me that a warmer ocean temperature could result in greater evaporation taking place and it is through the evaporation, evapotranspiration, condensation and convection processes that could produce needed rains. But, can or should such a forecast be depended on absolutely? What if the rains just don’t materialize to any great extent?
This is why conserving what we have right now is essential. And, what we’re experiencing at this time should be a wake-up call for ongoing water conservation.
I also learned today that air pollution has now been identified as the world’s fifth leading cause of death. Correspondingly, that can only mean one thing: air quality has gotten worse – meaning air has a higher concentration of toxic substances in it and/or that there are more toxins in the air. This is reflected by greater and greater numbers of early deaths attributed to these conditions – now pegged at 8 million per year.
If we wish to see significant reductions in the number of people dying prematurely on account of their being exposed to air pollution – both indoor and outdoor pollution – then air-corrective measures must be thorough, effective and long-lasting, in effect, what Secretary of State Kerry alluded to above.
Any number of actions, activities, efforts, measures, programs, steps, strategies and techniques can be employed to help better protect the planet and the life that it supports. Doing nothing or maintaining the status quo won’t solve the environmental problems the world is beset with currently. World Environment Day is an occasion and opportunity to be cognizant of environmental ills affecting the world, as well as to do what one can to not add to and perhaps reduce one’s negative impact upon this planet; in a nutshell, what World Environment Day is about.
- “30 Simple Energy Things You Can Do To Save The Earth,” “Energy and the Environment,” Earth Works Press, distributed by Pacific, Gas and Electric Company, 2006, pp. 13-15.