Today was Earth Day, and with all the action happening across the world in our preoccupation with CoVid19, I am sure there were many who also missed this wonderfully, poignant day.
There are so many reasons to stand up and take notice of today - for all the years this day has stood for the protection, understanding and due care of our planet - for what this day should mean to all of us, today is and was above all, one of the most important of celebrations in history.
In our world, where Mother Nature has taken her toll of misery over the years – of endless pollution and disrespect of all the gifts and treasures she selflessly provides to us all - now in the weeks of our own misery inflicted on us as a global species, Mother Nature has called the shots and now fights back for all she has endured over the years - prior and after the epic day of April 23rd 1970, when humans came together to assist her in her fight for survival.
We saw protests across the globe; hundreds of thousands of people demonstrating in Philadelphia Union Square; over 260 individuals cycling down the main street of Philadelphia and thousands more jam-packed into New York. All the way down 42nd street to Central Park, individuals demonstrated on Mother Nature’s behalf. Over 20 million people demonstrated across America alone. This was truly a historic day that called for the implementation of a Clean Air Act across the globe - an act that would prohibit industries from unscrupulous behaviour and their continued production of excessive CO2, nitrous oxide, methane and carbon emissions; one that compelled governments, businesses and individuals to take stock of their actions and make drastic changes for the betterment of mankind.
Today marks the 50th Anniversary of that very necessary Act, and while we suffer like never before – Mother Nature has for the first time in history, had a reprieve from our abuse.
With so many of our species ill, or on the lookout for CoVid19, the streets across the globe are barren, transport is void, emissions are at an all time low, and our skies enjoy miraculous clean air and breath-taking sunsets - like never before. Eight out of ten flights globally have been cancelled and given the marked reduction of fuel consumption, oil production sits just under, $40 a barrel.
Although this Act was put into play in America and onlooking countries rallied together to quickly follow suit, the collective idea of significantly reducing emissions in the coming years - some by 90%, fell way short of the bar. Today, we are still struggling.
Mr. Michael Gerrard – Environmental Law Expert at Columbia University states, “How people react to the return of normalcy after the pandemic will help define the crises wrecking the environment…A key question will be, do we have a green recovery, do we seize the opportunity to create jobs in renewable energy and in making coastlines more resilient to climate change?” he said. “The current US President clearly has no inclination to do this.”
Sadly, the US was more interested in offering a $25 billion bail out to the oil and gas industry, to help prop up air travel. In Australia, we too have followed suit, taking economic measures to retain the airline status quo, without thinking about the ramifications on our planet.
Earth Day couldn’t be a bigger reminder to think about what’s right. And if that doesn’t beat all, we have two more calendared reminders to make sure we act responsibly - Arbour Day and Anzac Day. Our trees are the breath that gives Mother Nature sustenance, and our ANZACs remind us to not only honour our past, but to honour our future – one that we can be equally as proud of.