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Opinion April 2017

Phase Three

It's the Only Earth We've Got, So Protect It

By Arnold Bornstein

Perhaps this is starting to sound like flashbacks to your old high school biology class, so it may be easier to remind ourselves of simpler daily issues such as the future of the world's food supply and what the production of energy does to our land, water, air and outer space and what our plans are for when the fuels run out.

I was sitting in my car, sipping a cappuccino on one of the first warm and sunny spring days we've had, while people-watching as customers came in and out of our neighborhood chain-restaurant.

It was the usual morning rush that included utility and construction workers, men and women in business attire on their way to work, and people from the nearby adult communities dropping by for newspapers, coffee or other items.

I think one of the things not really on their minds, and my mind, was the environmental holiday coming up – Earth Day. It seems many of us really weren't aware of it.

It seems that some calendars may not even list the holiday. It appears the significance of some holidays may be measured by whether it means a day off from work or school. I think for a long time I've had strong feelings about the importance of a healthy environment – about things like conservation, environmentalism, ecology, energy, global warming, clean air, clean water, endangered species and recycling.

For the first time in many years, I recalled that while I was in the Navy, our ship stopped at Nagasaki, where the second atomic bomb was dropped in World War II, the first one being at Hiroshima. I took a walk in Nagasaki; it was about eight years after the bomb was dropped and the and there was still devastation.

We know only too well that weapons of mass destruction include those that are biological, chemical and nuclear, with nuclear weapons now that evidently could make the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki look primitive.

As an incurable optimist with faith in humanity's ability to live in peace, I still have profound concerns about the environmental shape of the earth when it's passed on to our children, grandchildren and their children.

The first Earth Day was on April 22, 1970, and is credited with leading to the founding of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that year and then the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts.

You may think about the planting and care of trees, something that hits home in our area when you think about all the trees that had to be sacrificed for housing development, warehouses and truck ports.

Scientists consider forest "the lungs of our planet," in that they purify and protect water and soil and give critical living areas to countless animals and plants. They note that destroying forests hurts the battle against global warming and increases soil erosion.

The scientific term, biodiversity, refers to all of the Earth's plants, animals and humans and their interaction with the environment.

Perhaps this is starting to sound like flashbacks to your old high school biology class, so it may be easier to remind ourselves of simpler daily issues such as the future of the world's food supply and what the production of energy does to our land, water, air and outer space and what our plans are for when the fuels run out.

There are very real, everyday concerns out there. Yes, I think we actually can change the world, and I believe it starts by thinking more seriously about it.

Native American, Frank Fools Crow, ceremonial chief of the Titon Sioux, once said: "The survival of the world depends upon our sharing what we have and working together. If we don't, the whole world will die. First, the planet, and next the people."

 

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