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Earth Day 2019

April 22nd is observed as “Earth Day”. It is a movement to show respect to the environment and impose restrictions on irresponsible behavior leading to wastage of natural resources and pollution of all types.

Living without limits

After the Second World War, the United States enjoyed the level of affluence unprecedented in the modern history. It controlled major share of the world’s gold and world’ oil trade. This led to the use of much use of large fuel inefficient cars in the United States and most parts of industrialized nations. These cars used the leaded petrol that polluted the air. Thermal power stations supplied power to the rising urban centers to run the modern electronic appliances. The surge for energy rose unabated.

Dirty coal and leaded petrol

The surge for energy led to use of more coal and oil. This led to more coal mining and oil drilling. Coal mining creates abundance of cheap but dirty coal which generated much smoke and soot to choke the foliage nearby and faraway. Oil did the same thing. It generated more oxides of carbon and lead on the streets and roads due to fuel guzzling cars.

Santa Barbara Oil Spill

Drilling for oil happened to profitable for the large oil companies but very risky for the workers and the environment. It so happened on 28th January 1969, an oil platform owned by Union Oil platform off the coast of California blew off spilling millions of gallons of oil into the sea.  This oil spill killed thousands of sea birds, sea lions, dolphins and seals. This triggered an outrage amongst the young and the old. It was time to take a step. This created a flutter among the environmentalists, activists, students and ordinary citizens to make everyone aware of the environment and to take necessary steps to prevent damage to the earth’s ecosystem.

Dennis Hayes’ proposal

Peace activist John McConnell proposed 21st March, the first day of the spring, to be observed a mark of respect for earth and the concept of peace at a session in UNESCO in 1969. A month later, the US senator Gaylord Nelson proposed a separate Earth day focused on United States in the memory of Dennis Hayes who was the national environmental coordinator in 1970. In association with the teachers and the students of the Columbia University Dennis Hayes proposed the observance of the Earth Day. So 22nd April came to be known as the Earth Day.

Plastic, the main offender

On this earth day, we can join hands and do our little bit to protect the earth and make it a livable place for the future. We can put pressure on the companies to use less plastic. Plastic is non biodegradable. It takes hundreds of years to degrade plastic. Plastic is mostly used for packaging. Encourage more companies and people to use biodegradable materials like, paper, glass, steel, aluminum for packaging and for carrying products. Encourage customers to stop using single time use plastic and use more durable packing materials. Use legal processes to impose tax on plastic and give tax breaks for production of environmental unfriendly materials.

Protect the Species: Theme of Earth Day 2019

Earth’s species are the most vulnerable to the changing environment. Plastic waste is causing havoc amongst the species. The non bio degradable material is thrown here and there on the land as well in the rivers and seas. Various marine species who ingest food by swallowing like the whales and those animals who bite everything to check if that is food or not like sharks and turtles are more likely to take in plastic than their food. It has been found kilograms of plastic waste in the bellies of whales, sharks, seals and dolphins and turtles. Big plastic material break down into smaller and smaller sizes and those become micro plastic which are ingested by smaller fish in water bodies and land animals and  gets embedded into the topsoil and enters the food web to poison the members of the food chain.

Apart from plastic, deforestation is robs the animals of their habitats. Birds die from starvation and they become vulnerable to predation. Excessive pesticides usage has to be banned as they kill the pollinating bees. If the bees die, the world would stare at hunger and starvation.

Keep the species alive for our life

It is therefore imperative to save the earth’s species to save ourselves. We cannot live without the help of the other species.  So the survival of the other species is a must for the survival for the human species.

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