Home Planet Day

On this 40th Earth Day, many casual environmentalists will express their support for recycling, clean energy and conservation. Unfortunately, most will take little interest in a global approach to the problems of pollution, habitat loss and overpopulation. They have no appreciation for the effects that policies in distant countries may have on their own lives or on the lives of their children and grandchildren.

But we all live on the same planet with its thin envelope of atmosphere, its fragile hydrology and its fickle, global climate. Indeed, air pollution in China, deforestation in Brazil and overfishing by Japan will, eventually, affect us all. Of course, under the Bush Administration, the U.S. essentially withdrew from any global approach to environmental problems but, with a new attitude in Washington, we may once again provide leadership on these critical issues.

On the other hand, some dedicated individuals, while providing active and financial support for national and international conservation organizations, ignore their own impact on the natural environment. While proudly filling their bin of recyclables each week, they waste clean water, overuse energy, consume excessively and spread toxic chemicals on their lawn. Unless we resolve to minimize our individual impact, national and global programs to protect natural ecosystems will be in vain.