Respecting the Earth

The United States needs to lead by example

Friday, April 22, is Earth Day, the international celebration of the planet. This year, more than ever, every human being ought to consider exactly how we treat the environment and what we can do to mitigate the alarming warnings the world is signaling due to the degradation we have wrought over the decades, beginning with the Industrial Revolution.

Indeed, despite clear evidence of a warming world, man continues to invest in and rely upon fossil fuels, including oil gathered through ecologically destructive methods such as hydraulic fracturing—or fracking. That form of extraction requires the use of millions of gallons of water—a precious commodity, especially in parched California—and has been found to contaminate groundwater.

As environmental luminaries have noted, and what they hoped would come out of the climate talks in Paris last year, the international community needs to adopt binding agreements to curb carbon emissions. Mandated reductions still have not been agreed upon, thanks to greed and the dated economic interests of the world’s super powers, including the two main polluters: the United States and China.

We understand the desire of countries to prop up their citizens’ standards of living, but doing so by wreaking havoc on our natural resources is short-sighted. Instead, the world’s leaders must invest in renewable energy sources that have the potential to propel their economies forward. We should lead by example. Of course, that’s going to take commitments from our nation’s representatives. So this November, Americans should clean house at the polls by giving the boot to all of the climate change deniers and clean-energy obstructionists who’ve catered to the fossil fuel industry.

Meanwhile, we need to take stock of our individual actions and ask ourselves what we can do to make sure that we don’t contribute to the environmental catastrophes around us. Even small actions, like joining discussion groups and environmental organizations, can spur action. The Earth is beautiful and has served us well. Let’s make sure it continues to do so by treating it respectfully.