Earth Day 2007: How One Person Can Change the World
This Sunday, April 22, is Earth Day, a time when millions of Americans celebrate and renew their personal commitment to environmental stewardship. But April 22 is not the only Earth Day, or even the first. The vernal equinox in late March, otherwise known as the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere, is also designated as Earth Day and celebrated more often by people outside the United States. Learn the history of both Earth Days and why two holidays for the same purpose were started less than a month apart. Photo courtesy of NASA Whichever Earth Day you celebrate, it has never been more important, or more urgent, for you and people everywhere to take personal action and to adopt a green lifestyle. How Can One Person Change the World? Today, the environmental problems facing the world are enormous. Earth’s finite resources are being stretched to the limit by rapid population growth, air, water and soil pollution, and much more. Global warming, spurred by our use of fossil fuels for energy and transportation as well as mass-scale agriculture and other human activities, threatens to push our planet beyond its ability to sustain human life unless we can meet the growing need for food, energy and economic opportunity within a sustainable environment. In the face of such huge global problems, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and powerless, and to find ourselves asking, “What difference can one person make?” The answer is that one person can make all the difference in the world. Rachel Carson was just one person who wrote Silent Spring, a book credited with launching the environmental movement in the United States. John Muir was one person who saved the Yosemite Valley, founded the Sierra Club, and inspired generations of conservationists who continue to do life-giving work. Wangari Maathai was one person who started planting trees and empowering women in her native Kenya, and eventually was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2004 for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace. Al Gore was just one person who traveled for years to any conference room or auditorium where people would gather to see his slide show and hear his call to action—a slide show that became the Academy Award winning film and best-selling book, An Inconvenient Truth The Power of Personal Commitment Each of us has the power through our daily decisions and lifestyle choices to make our homes and communities more environmentally friendly, but our power doesn’t end there. There is no question that solving many of the problems currently threatening our global environment will require the resources and enlightened action of government and industry. Yet, because government and industry exist to serve the needs of their citizens and customers, how you live your life, the demands you and your neighbors make for products and services that help to sustain rather than erode the environment, will influence those actions and, ultimately, the future of planet Earth. Anthropologist Margaret Mead said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." So make some changes in the way you live your life. Use less energy and fewer resources, create less waste, and join with others who share your beliefs to urge government representatives and business executives to follow your lead toward a more sustainable world. Here are a few ways you can get started: * Top 10 Ways You Can Reduce Global Warming * Use Public Transportation * Eat Locally Grown Food * Change a Light Bulb and Change the World * Try Reusable Shopping Bags * Get a Free Home Energy Audit * Plant a Tree * Stop Receiving Junk Mail * Pay Your Bills Online * Consider Switching to an Alternative Fuel * Explore Renewable Energy Options
Happy Earth Day.