The first Earth Day was held on this day in 1970, and depending on who you ask we’ve since come a long way toward a cleaner world or our planet is in great peril.
Our guess is the truth lies somewhere in between.
But we probably all agree that as the Earth becomes increasingly crowded we need to make environmentally smart choices in order to make sure we leave our children and their children a healthy world. Is there any alternative?
What’s more, there are still far too many of us who show far too little respect for this planet, this country or this state -- especially if one judges our commitment to a healthy Earth by the filth lining the sides of our roads or the garbage deposited in our waterways. And that’s just what we see, just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the stresses put on our planet through our actions. The damage done by burning fossil fuels and the dangers to our waterways from various chemical pollutants are two examples of problems we have yet to solve, or stop.
Fortunately, there are ways we can lessen our impact on Mother Nature -- simple things such as turning off lights when we leave a room. Or walking or riding a bike somewhere nearby instead of cranking up the car. In fact, by leaving your car home twice a week you can cut greenhouse emissions by 1,600 pounds a year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Some other easy-to-do things that can help the planet include fixing leaky faucets or running toilets, running dishwashers only when you have a full load and installing water efficient showerheads -- and limiting showers to a few minutes.
What’s more, consider using reusable bags when you shop and look for ways to reduce your household waste, whether it’s planting seeds in egg cartons, buying beverages that come in reusable containers or practicing greenscaping. Even fertilizing before a rain storm can be bad for the environment, and it’s an easy thing to avoid.
In fact, many of the things we can do to make our planet a healthier place seem like such small things to do, and in the great scheme of things they are. But if we all just do our part, it will have an impact.
Every little bit helps.
Jeff Whitten for the Bryan County News