This Sunday, April 22 will be the 42nd annual observance of Earth Day. Started in the United States, this day is thought to have inspired Congress to implement the Clean Air and Water Acts, and to create the Environmental Protection Agency. Earth Day it is now a global event and is celebrated around the world by millions, or perhaps billions of people. The United Nation has declared April to be Earth Month and April 22 to be International Mother Earth Day.
Earth Day is a very special day designed for all of us to think about Earth problems and hopefully, to discover some solutions. Often there are celebrations, events, or campaigns that bring communities together to participate in activities or discuss issues that will help the Earth and bring awareness to its many problems-and its many wonders. It is so special a day that the whole world participates!
Many communities across the planet celebrate Earth Day with a variety of activities. We in East Hampton are not that fortunate. We do have CCOM in Montauk organizing a community clean up as well as sponsoring fun activities for kids and grown-ups. But what about the rest of East Hampton? Southampton celebrated Earth Month last year, and this year they have organized the Great East End Clean Up. I have to admit, I am a bit envious of the great things Southampton is doing for the environment, and for Earth Day.
Someone told me that Southampton has money for these types of events and East Hampton does not. I don't think it takes money to celebrate Earth Day as a community. We could have had an announcement at the last Town Board Meeting reminding the community that this Sunday is Earth Day. Perhaps a message to do something to celebrate the planet on this very special day could have been relayed to our citizens. Something as simple as asking everyone to go outside and enjoy our planet while picking up some litter or planting a few flowers could have been encouraged. That would have been a free and easy Earth Day celebratory event for the Town of East Hampton. It seems to me that we may be forgetting the day that is supposed to celebrate our one and only home. The Earth gives us life. It provides us with food, water, and the air that we breathe so that we may exist. What's not to love?
I found a great idea online called The Funding Factory. It is a recycling fundraiser that raises money for schools and other organizations. Recycling inkjet cartridges, cell phones, cameras and other stuff gets the participants money. Check out the PDF above for all the stuff they accept. If the town encouraged this program as a free and easy Earth Day event, they could have reduced the cost to the Town for disposal of these items, helped raise money for worthy causes, and helped the environment with no cost to the Town.
It is sad that the great Town of East Hampton could not plan any events for a day that should be sacred and celebrated. Seriously? Sacred? Well yes- this Earth is the only home we 7 billion humans have. Let me repeat-The Earth gives us life. It provides us with food, water, and the air that we breathe so that we may exist.Even so,we are quickly destroying this home that we share with all the Earth's inhabitants, and the rate of extinction is alarming. Bees, bats, birds, and frogs and are dying at a disturbing rate.
As of February, there were only 58 Mexican Grey wolves left in the wild. The Mountain Gorilla population contains around 600 individuals. There are less than 3000 Black Rhinos, fewer than 1,000 Giant Pandas, around 500 Siberian tigers, about 350 northern right whales, almost 20 adult Amur leopards, and only a handful of ivory-billed woodpeckers left on the planet.
By adding all sorts of chemicals to this planet, we have effectively changed the chemical composition of the biosphere, the land, the seas, and our drinking water. We have climate change knocking down our door and ocean acidification lapping at the shore. We have altered half of the planets lands thereby destroying habitat causing countless species to be in the fight of their lives.Something is seriously wrong when you can count entire populations of animals and the numbers are only in the tens to maybe a few thousand. Three species go extinct every hour. This is sad, sad news. There is a reason that these plants and animal species are ,or were, here and losing them will be to our detriment.
OK-sorry- back to Earth Day. Happy Earth Day East Hampton! Let us try to do something to help our great blue planet.
The USEPA has a good site for Earth Day information.
Here is a checklist of things you can do in your home to help the Earth.
Heading west this weekend? There is a Green Festival in New York City that sounds like it will be informative and fun. One of my daughters is even volunteering at this event!
The best thing you can do this Earth Day is to make a commitment to protect the Earth every day. The planet and the future will thank you. Maybe next year we can celebrate Earth Day as a community.