For the past 40 years Earth Day has been a time to think about our stewardship of the planet, and to vow to do a better job. Frankly, we are not doing such a great job–and I’m not just talking about caring for the plants and animals with whom we share the planet. On this Earth Day, I urge everyone to consider not just the green things around us, but how we care for our fellow man.
When we throw garbage on the ground in a poor neighborhood, just because so many others before us have treated it as a trash can, it not only harms the environment, but it diminishes the quality of life for the people who call the area home. When we favor cheap energy and disregard the resulting pollution to the air, water and land, we also are saying we don’t care about the health of people who must drink water contaminated with hazardous chemicals or breathe in dirty air as a result. When we buy cheap goods that will quickly be consumed and thrown away, we are saying we don’t care about neighborhoods sited next to landfills or the cheap labor used to produce such goods.
And, consider that if you do not care if other people on this planet have to drink water polluted by the byproducts of energy production, eat foods contaminated by unsanitary conditions and agricultural runoff, and breath in air dirtied by traffic congestion–surely others are treating you with the same disregard.
The earth is a closed system. How we care for the well-being of all living creatures on this earth as well as the land, sea and air impacts us all.
–By Jennifer E. Cooper