Earth day is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and during those years, many changes and improvements have been implemented and seen. There are success stories and achievements that humans have made to their only living place and home – Earth.
Let us embody and savor our achievements as we celebrate Earth Day’s golden jubilee:
- In 1986, a moratorium was created against whaling, which vastly limited commercial whaling.
- The Paris agreement in 2015, aims to pursue a path that will limit global temperature rise to below 2°C to avoid catastrophic climate change.
- At the United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2016, 48 countries vowed to use only renewable energy by 2050.
- Renewable energy practices are on the increase with some examples such as Portugal used only energy from solar, hydropower, or wind for four days. Denmark only used wind for a whole day, and to top them – Costa Rica functioned entirely on different sources of renewable energy for a hundred days.
- Electric supply from renewable sources rose by 12% last year while coal production decreased.
- The US has reached more than 60% of its energy usage from renewable resources.
- The UN has set 17 sustainable Development Goals to be achieved by 2030.
Even as we want to savor these achievements, a bad taste lingers on our hearts, for we see more issues have arisen that are saddening, to say the least. There is no time to waste on sadness, action is needed, NOW. Each one of us has a part to play or something that he needs to stop using, throwing, or taking. All that is required is to observe our behaviors and DO NOT SPEAK BUT DO.
Otherwise, we will face our own consequences together on this one planet.
Some of the issues that Earth faces today and every day as a result of human actions and insistent behavior:
- Many species are endangered, facing extinction, simply disappearing due to human behavior, and climate change – this causes biodiversity loss.
- The greenhouse effect is warming our planet to a dangerous level that is threatening all life on Earth unless quick action is taken.
- Ice sheets declining, extreme and harmful weather conditions, droughts, new heat records, rising sea levels, acidic oceans – some of climate change effects.
- China comes as the top emitter of carbon dioxide with 30% while the USA ranks second at 15%. Fossil fuel transportation contributes 14% of greenhouse gas emissions, while electricity and heat production are the largest emitters at 25%. Land use, agriculture, and deforestation come next with 24%.
- Globally, a third of the food produced goes waste either it spoils during transportation, or is thrown out. In dealing with waste food, 3.3 billion metric tons of CO2 are emitted!
- Today, some countries like Iceland, Norway, and Japan still practice whaling commercially.
- Climate change, fishing, and pollution pose severe threats to large fish, polar bears, seals, whales, sharks, among others.
- One of the worst pollutants is plastic – never goes away just disintegrates into smaller and smaller pieces. Marine animals either think it is food and cannot digest it or get entangled in it – in both cases, they die, suffocate, or get intestinal blockade.
- The sound emanating from sonar devices and ships impacts wildlife, specifically marine life. Communication for these creatures becomes difficult, and that affects their communication with each other, avoiding predators and finding food.
- Around 44,000 animals are harmed by plastic debris, most of them marine reaching to 693 marine species. A shocking 17% of these species are now under threat of extinction.
- Plastic waste in our oceans amounts to eight million metric tons, and in simple terms, that is a truck a minute.
- Plastic straws are just seen as a small thing, but Americans alone consume 50 million a day! And where do they go after that? A huge question.
- A study shows that a hundred billion plastic bags are thrown away by Americans alone. The worldwide count has not been done!
As we try to move forward here are some highlights on the hows and the best options that we could all follow on a journey to save planet Earth as a token of celebrating Earth day every April 22:
- One large tree is capable of supplying 4 people with their oxygen requirements for a day. On the other hand, it eliminates 48 pounds of carbon dioxide in a year – plant a tree!
- Global forests have absorbed more than 2 billion tons of carbon, 8.8 of carbon dioxide – don’t use products from real wood, don’t encourage deforestation or those who support it!
- Biodiversity protects the whole system of life – no hunting, over-exploitation, poaching for skin or ivory, no habitat destruction.
- Renewable energy will help with global warming.
- Regulations in plastic use, especially one-use plastics.
- Forests and oceans are carbon sinks – protect them!
- Whales, each whale could contribute by 2 million dollars economically if it lives to its natural age – that is why taking care of our marine life is optimum as well as climate change.
This is a researched article based on real studies by sources that have been linked to this piece of writing.
It is not about dealing with only one issue at a time or in a day – all have to go hand in hand. That is what our carbon print is all about: Take care, observe, limit….
Waste, Water, Biodiversity, Carbon Emission, Plastic Use, Renewable Energy, Reduce Consumption