Monday, April 21, 2003

Earth Day 2003: Celebrate and Protect the Planet!

This can be a valuable day for do-gooding, but let's start with a reality check:
Earth Day 2003 – A Time for Mourning, Not Craft Fairs
By Jackie Alan Giuliano, Ph.D.

“Where have all the flowers gone? Long time passing. Where have all the flowers gone? Long time ago. Where have all the flowers gone? Young girls picked them, every one. Oh, when will they ever learn? Oh, when will they ever learn” -- Pete Seeger

"Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else's skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too." -- Frederick Buechner

The list of events planned around the US for Earth Day 2003 is chilling. While deadly pollution harms US soldiers, the people, and environment of Iraq and the surrounding countries, while the Baghdad zoo has been ransacked and the animals either killed, let loose, or stolen, while innocent Iraqi children suffer from US-inflicted injuries, and while tens of thousands of people worldwide die from soil, air, and water poisoned with pesticides and scores of toxic chemicals, Earth Day craft fairs, discussion groups, and lectures will be held. Lost is the passion and sense of urgency that heralded the first Earth Day 33 years ago.

The 33rd Earth Day this year will mark an unprecedented time of resource consumption and environmental violence against the Earth and our health.

On Earth Day this year, while speeches, conversations and trinket sales take place:

603 people worldwide will die from exposure to pesticides and countless more will suffer serious health threats from chronic exposure.

5,400 to 11,000 children will die from diarrhea from polluted drinking water.

27,000 children will die from curable infectious diseases.

164 babies will be born that are effected by mercury poisoning because their mothers ate contaminated fish, while government agencies recommend that pregnant women eat several servings of fish each week.

Over 103,000 animals will be killed for fur coats.

Nearly 2 million gallons of engine oil will be poured down the drain and will enter our nation’s waterways.

Over 41 million pounds of trash will be dumped at sea worldwide. About 77 percent of all ship waste comes from cruise ships.

Over 3 million pounds of hydrocarbons will be released into the atmosphere just from jet skis, lawn mowers, boat engines, and other 2-cycle motors.

At least 1,200 gallons of oil and fuel will leak from aging and malfunctioning pipelines in the US, polluting groundwater, lakes, rivers, oceans and soil.

313 million gallons of fuel - enough to drain 26 tractor-trailer trucks every minute – will be used in the US

18 million tons of raw materials will be taken from US soil.

Miscarriages will continue to take place among women of the Shoalwater Bay Tribe in Washington State, possibly from pesticide contamination in cranberry bogs. Earth Day has become a time when the right wing corporate, industrial, and political leaders probably rejoice in the passivity of the population. Of course, there are exceptions and a number of groups throughout the nation will be mindful of the significance of the day.
See the rest of Jackie Alan Giuliano's piece here.

Want to be part of the exceptional? Today's Earth Day. What are you going to do about it?

The EarthDay Network has lots of suggestions.

Be a responsible parent and a good steward of the planet: Share the holiday with your kids. Here's a coloring book with an enviromental focus; the wee ones will love it and learn much. They'll dig the Kids' Domain site too.

This Earth Day, go on an energy fast.

Spend some time with Envirolink, the online environmental community.

And focus on the theme for the 2003 observance: Water for Life. The theme comes at a time when the global water situation demands our attention.

One really good thing to do for the enviroment: REGISTER TO VOTE!

Final suggestion: Make every day Earth Day!

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