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Earth Day 2013: Will You Participate?

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

In 1970, Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson got the idea for an environmental teach-in that morphed into “Earth Day” first held on Wednesday, April 22, 1970. Nelson was partially inspired by a 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara and the Vietnam anti-war movement going on during that time.

An impressive 20 million people got involved that first year and 33 years later more than 1 billion people and 192 countries have some form of activities related to Earth

Day.

“I am convinced that all we need to do to bring an overwhelming insistence of the new generation that we stem the tide of environmental disaster is to present the facts clearly and dramatically. To marshal such an effort, I am proposing a national teach-in on the crisis of the environment to be held next spring on every university campus across the Nation. The crisis is so imminent, in my opinion, that every university should set aside 1 day in the school year-the same day across the Nation-for the teach-in.” ~ Gaylord Nelson

Global Warming – Climate Change

We’ve all heard arguments for and against legislation concerning our environment. Al Gore produced a movie on the topic that won an Academy Award. Meteorologists and weather experts around the world debate whether the planet is warming or just going through some kind of normal change that occurs every so many years.

University eggheads write papers and do experiments; others just recount their personal weather history.

Floods, hurricanes, melting icecaps, tsunamis, fossil fuels, solar and wind energy are all used to prop up whatever argument is being made. The question is — no one knows who’s right or what the result of any changes will make. If the world is in fact warming then would making changes cause cooling? There is a loud call to reduce CO2 emissions in the atmosphere, yet the increased CO2 has caused explosive growth in trees around the world that turn CO2 into oxygen. So in some cases we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

Some Final Thoughts

Over time alternative fuels and power sources will be produced. But there is no way to force the natural evolution of these innovations. We could have had a decidedly high advantage in WWII if we had just had a few jet planes. The technology existed but as much as we would liked to have had smart bomb jets, it took another 40 years for industry to get that done.

Using some environmental thinking we could have sped up the evolution of the automobile if we’d just shot all the horses. Then Henry Ford would have been forced to work on those heated cupholders.

What will I do on Earth Day? Probably not much more than I would do on any other day. I’m very confident that the people who can eventually solve the problem are hard at work on it. After all, anyone who can solve the problem will have a very big payday. And that might just be someone reading this. How will you celebrate Earth Day?

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