Earth day – awareness or lip service


SANTA CRUZ, April 23, 2014— Welcome to earth week, a national celebration of faux environmentalism and congratulatory back-slapping. By something as simple as changing the colors of NBC’s peacock to green, everybody can feel like they are doing their part to preserve the earth’s precious resources. Maybe a few people will talk about earth day, it’s significance, and how best to participate, but sadly the entire, week-long event is chiefly lip service.

Those on the front lines of environmental activism know that the struggle facing the planet today can not be addressed by a week long media creation. Most reasonable folks agree that our planet is at a dangerous tipping point and that, if unchecked, climate change and humanity’s rapacious consumption will soon render the earth uninhabitable. People are somewhat concerned, to varying degrees, but nobody wants to alter the dissipation inherent in our culture, the very consumption which is writing ecological checks our planet will be unable to cash.

Are people ready to admit that sustainable energy sources are paramount to earth’s survival? And, if so, to what extent are people prepared to go to change the current paradigm? With entrenched money and influence perpetuating the myth that big oil and gas are necessities, and Republican lawmakers opposing implementation of wind and solar everywhere they can, it is clear we are in for a fight. America’s dependence on oil and gas is depleting resources around the globe, with the blind assurance that there will always be a bountiful supply. Scientists have theorized that the world will reach peak oil, when we will be forced to extract diminishing amounts of petroleum from the earth, by the year 2020. Some people are confident the world will come to it’s collective senses and switch to more sustainable energy before then, but it will take a massive shift in consciousness, one which is difficult to imagine given the world’s current state of selfish utilization.

The meat and dairy industry is the second largest contributor to climate change and depletion of resources. Factory farming is an environmental apocalypse, and the entire process is horribly wasteful. It is time for everyone to take an unflinching look at how their diets impact the environment. Nobody should ever be forced to adopt one diet over another, but with so much data pointing to an ecological zero hour sooner rather than later, one would hope that most rational people will choose a more compassionate, less wasteful lifestyle.

If we truly want to celebrate earth day or week or whatever, we have to look in the mirror and ask ourselves if we are doing enough to mean it. Everybody is happy to talk about the planet, conservation, and the like, but when it comes to taking action, we, as a species, are falling woefully short. For a livable, sustainable planet for our children and grandchildren, it is time to end the reign of big oil and gas, and put a stop to the wasteful slaughter of billions of animals. Earth day indeed.


Russ Rankin writes about hockey, music & politics. You can find him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter. He also sings for Good Riddance and Only Crime. Find out what he’s up to by checking out his website.

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