At times, it seems that in a politicized world, there is nothing to agree on. A few minutes of channel or web surfing will quickly make this fact evident. But even the most contentious politicos must agree on this fact: we all live on the same earth and this earth is worth preserving for future generations. This Friday, April 22nd, will mark the 46th Earth Day, a day to celebrate the Earth and all of its natural wonders as well as reflect on how we can be better caretakers of her resources.
Protecting the earth has not always been a popular idea. In fact, Earth Day was born out of a desire to bring environmental consciousness into the mainstream. According to EarthDay.org, “At the time, Americans were slurping leaded gas through massive V8 sedans. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of legal consequences or bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity.” In response to an increasingly damaged world, a Senator from Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson, wanted to take a stand and spread environmental consciousness. In 1970, on the first Earth Day, more than 20 million Americans displayed their support for the idea and the holiday has grown each year since.
A quick glance at the official Earth Day website will show that there are more ways than one to make an impact. Making a difference can start by tracking energy use, buying local produce, ending junk mail, planting trees, and reducing the individual use of fossil fuels. While there is not a clear-cut path toward preserving the earth, there are many different ways to do so.
A simple way to reduce waste and encourage a healthy planet is to reduce the amount of gasoline we burn. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, “Transportation is the largest single source of air pollution in the United States.” Naturally, burning more gasoline causes more pollution to be emitted in the atmosphere. Pollution released into the atmosphere has serious detrimental effects on both human health and the environment.
Electric vehicles are often looked at as a solution to reducing air pollution, but with high price tags and poor infrastructure, these vehicles are often out of reach for the average American. Americans can, however, seek affordable, fuel efficient vehicles within their price ranges. Until alternative technologies become more affordable, vehicles that sip and not guzzle gasoline should be a priority.
Unfortunately, political ads will pollute every media avenue in the next few months. While politicians of every political leaning will attempt to divide on environmental issues, it is clear that the Earth is worth preserving. A good old-fashioned American road trip just wouldn’t be the same without the majestic Grand Canyon, the amber fields of the Midwest, or the peaceful shorelines of the Pacific. The path to preservation is not the same for everyone, but undertaking a path to conservation should be the way for every American.