Some thoughts on an Earth Day
Three years ago I wrote the first article in a sustainability column giving tribute to environmental heroes who have made an impact locally (Southern Ontario) and internationally. I was reminded last Friday in a talk by Jane Goodall that everything you do every day makes a difference - how you act towards people and treat animals and what you say, what you do to the environment. I think this is the basis of Earth Day and the ability of individual changes to make a combined difference.
It was also a political movement which brought Washington to a stand-still in 1970 and brought 20 million Americans out to participate. Yes, Earth Day is an American creation. It meant peace and ecology and that's still what we're working towards. Today in Ontario we celebrate the institution of a new pesticide act which bans the use and purchase of hundreds of chemicals which may be dangerous to the health of people and wildlife. This is a day for everyone involved in the environmental movement to be proud, all those who worked municipally and provincially on campaigns for legislation - and also to know that green jobs will come with new types of lawn care and naturalization, work that requires higher levels of labour and finance.
We now go beyond to the next challenges of our time including nuclear disarmament, widespread poverty and disease, agricultural transition and the climate crisis, and how we can solve these and others in a new economy and caring society. Luckily we already have the solutions being in things like micro-credit, renewable energy, public transportation, health and clean water solutions, local trade and sustainable agriculture. What we make of the world is up to us, and particularly the younger generations who need to stand up to force others to listen and to make political and personal changes themselves. What are you doing today? Tomorrow?
My colleague Rebecca McNeil and I are working on a new column which will discuss tools of change, providing practical ways that people have made change can how we can organize for a new progressive and sustainable agenda for Canada. Stay tuned.