Earth Day – A brief history

So today is earth day a holiday that has been around longer than most people realize. The first Earth Day was the year I was born 1970! As I was born in February I have been alive for every earth day! So how did we get this holiday? We have to go back a bit to the end of WWII and discuss quickly that war’s impact on the U.S. WWII created vast industry, in addition to that the country prior was in the “great depression” so the 50’s and early 60’s was an enormous growth period for the U.S. both socially and economically. The residual effect of that kind of growth was the compromise of the environment.

Any Gen Xer out there can tell you about the commercials we had in the 70s. Lester the Light bulb, Woodsy the Owl, The crying Indian. We had major smog issues in cities and our rivers were getting horrifically polluted. Simply put, many people realized that we were over polluting our planet and the environmentalism movement was born. One of the best way to get people to acknowledge an issue is to “have a day” that raises awareness.

This was also with the backdrop of student activism of the 60’s. The 60’s was filled with turmoil socially in the U.S. An unpopular war, Civil rights movement, Feminist movement on and on. So the stage was set perfectly for environmentalism. Senator Gaylord Nelson announced the idea for a teach-in on college campuses to the national media, and persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman, to serve as his co-chair.  They recruited Denis Hayes, a young activist, to organize the campus teach-ins and they choose April 22, a weekday falling between Spring Break and Final Exams, to maximize the greatest student participation. 

Wouldn’t it be great if the grass WAS greener on the other side?

Earth Day achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, urban dwellers and farmers, business and labor leaders. By the end of 1970, we had the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency the passage of the National Environmental Education Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the Clean Air Act.  Two years later Congress passed the Clean Water Act.  A year after that, Congress passed the Endangered Species Act and soon after the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. 

The resulting legislation listed above has had a profound effect on the world we have today. Had Earth Day not happened and we continued on the path we were on the climate change debate today would be vastly different. At the time the argument was over, everyone agreed that we (this was exclusive to the U.S. at the time) had to clean up the environment or we were heading to disaster and to a large degree we did. In 1992 Earth day went global with the United Nations Earth Summit.

So here we are in 2022. We still have a lot of environmental issues to deal with. This blog doesn’t delve into global warming and the politics of that subject so I am not going to go in-depth here. I will say that effort counts, so buy a reusable straw for your drinks. Use paper bags at the grocery store. Do something, every small contribution helps to keeping the world healthier. Earth Day at its core was started as a good faith endeavor to empower people to clean up their environment.

Don’t let political discourse get in the way of common sense. You know the more trash we put into the world, the dirtier the world gets. You might not have to deal with it now but someone will someday.

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India

For our friends in India: Environmental Stress is serious

I am proud of the fact that per my word press statistics a large portion of the people who view my content reside in (or have a VPN in) India. As many of my readers know I am based on the U.S. the New England region. Most of my pieces are things that pertain to the U.S. situation. Sure many of them translate and generally you can apply most of the context to any part of the world with some tweaks.

The environment impacts everyone, locally and globally. The fact is the drum beat of climate change and pending environmental calamity has been beating for decades now. So it’s not a stretch to say that environmental concerns add to and inflame anxiety in individuals. Our friends in India are no exception. I found a good article here that discusses some of what’s going on.

From the article: “The overall assessment is that our air and water quality is all trends show that pollution is increasing and this has massive impacts on our health. Even during the lockdown, data shows that river pollution did not reduce. Clearly, we need to do much more to improve the quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink,” said Sunita Narain, director general, CSE and editor, Down to Earth, while releasing the annual publication.”

Plastic destroys the environment
The world is overrun with pollution.

The article itself states some interesting statistic that to be blunt I can verify myself, I don’t live there but the overall sentiment is important. A clean environment producers healthier living conditions. I don’t think I am going out on a limb by stating that, I think we can all agree there. Just like here in the states it seems daunting for one individual to measure what impact they can have on the overall problem with the environment.

As people with anxiety, it’s just one more thing to worry about and its tangible you can see pollution and feel it. What can you do? You can change one thing. You know your habits better than I do, what are you doing now that has a negative impact on the environment? Using too much water? Throwing trash in street? Using too much plastic? I’m sure you can find something and that one thing DOES HELP. Me? I purchased a reusable straw. I get a coffee almost every day a cold brew and I use a straw. Over the years I must have thrown away hundreds if not thousands of straws. For 5 bucks I got 2 reusable straws and I have thrown one away in 6 months.

That’s 1 straw a day for 182 days, it’s not much but imagine if everyone did something small like this? That would be a big deal. It’s not late to start, no one is saying go crazy but find one small thing you can do to help the environment, where ever you live.

Thank you for coming by and supporting my blog! Please remember to like, subscribe and share I truly appreciate the support. Want to see another post like this one? Click here.

Plastic destroys the environment

Plastic Sucks

I don’t normally do environmental pieces on this blog but today we step outside of the normal format to discuss plastic. I use plastic, Im sure you do to. Plastic is horrible for the environment and if you have the ability to do so, you should not only use less of it but do your part in cleaning up some of the plastic already polluting our world.

Need convincing? Here are some random facts about plastic.

  • Over the last ten years we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century.
  • 50 percent of the plastic we use, we use just once and throw away.
  • Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times.
  • Plastic accounts for around 10 percent of the total waste we generate.
  • Plastic in the ocean breaks down into such small segments that pieces of plastic from a one liter bottle could end up on every mile of beach throughout the world.
  • Annually approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide. More than one million bags are used every minute.
  • 46 percent of plastics float (EPA 2006) and it can drift for years before eventually concentrating in the ocean gyres.
  • It takes 500-1,000 years for plastic to degrade.
How many plastic bottles did you throw away last year?
  • Billions of pounds of plastic can be found in swirling convergences in the oceans making up about 40 percent of the world’s ocean surfaces. 80 percent of pollution enters the ocean from the land.
  • The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is located in the North Pacific Gyre off the coast of California and is the largest ocean garbage site in the world. This floating mass of plastic is twice the size of Texas, with plastic pieces outnumbering sea life six to one.
  • Plastic constitutes approximately 90 percent of all trash floating on the ocean’s surface, with 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile.
  • One million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic in our oceans.
  • 44 percent of all seabird species, 22 percent of cetaceans, all sea turtle species and a growing list of fish species have been documented with plastic in or around their bodies.

Source

Plastic is horrible for the environment and horrible for all of our futures. I know I sound hyperbolic and this post is out of the norm for this blog. I feel strongly about plastic pollution and I hope, in my small corner of the blog sphere, the people who read this take it to heart and do something, anything to cut down on the plastic.

Thank you for coming by to support my blog! Please remember to like, subscribe and share. Interested in another post from my blog? Check out this one.

Plastic destroys the environment

Plastic Sucks

I don’t normally do environmental pieces on this blog but today we step outside of the normal format to discuss plastic. I use plastic, Im sure you do to. Plastic is horrible for the environment and if you have the ability to do so, you should not only use less of it but do your part in cleaning up some of the plastic already polluting our world.

Need convincing? Here are some random facts about plastic.

  • Over the last ten years we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century.
  • 50 percent of the plastic we use, we use just once and throw away.
  • Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times.
  • Plastic accounts for around 10 percent of the total waste we generate.
  • Plastic in the ocean breaks down into such small segments that pieces of plastic from a one liter bottle could end up on every mile of beach throughout the world.
  • Annually approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide. More than one million bags are used every minute.
  • 46 percent of plastics float (EPA 2006) and it can drift for years before eventually concentrating in the ocean gyres.
  • It takes 500-1,000 years for plastic to degrade.
How many plastic bottles did you throw away last year?
  • Billions of pounds of plastic can be found in swirling convergences in the oceans making up about 40 percent of the world’s ocean surfaces. 80 percent of pollution enters the ocean from the land.
  • The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is located in the North Pacific Gyre off the coast of California and is the largest ocean garbage site in the world. This floating mass of plastic is twice the size of Texas, with plastic pieces outnumbering sea life six to one.
  • Plastic constitutes approximately 90 percent of all trash floating on the ocean’s surface, with 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile.
  • One million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic in our oceans.
  • 44 percent of all seabird species, 22 percent of cetaceans, all sea turtle species and a growing list of fish species have been documented with plastic in or around their bodies.

Source

Plastic is horrible for the environment and horrible for all of our futures. I know I sound hyperbolic and this post is out of the norm for this blog. I feel strongly about plastic pollution and I hope, in my small corner of the blog sphere, the people who read this take it to heart and do something, anything to cut down on the plastic.

Interested in another post from my blog? Check out this one.

Beyond the Trees

Is pollution linked to depression and anxiety?

I know the answer is logically yes, because pollution is a negative it is logical to extrapolate that It affects you negatively. However, what does the evidence prove? I found a good article here about the subject. Now the article in of itself has come under criticism and rightfully so, the evidence is circumstantial at best.

That said, if we employ a little common sense its logical to conclude that pollution will enhance anxiety. From the article: “A recent study has concluded that exposure to air pollution, particularly during the first 10 years of life, could play a significant role in the development of psychiatric disorders.”

Now there are factors that we need to discuss here. As an example, if you are living in a polluted area its likely you have less means thus you can’t move to a less polluted area. Having less means might be a trigger to anxiety.

Environmental factors in living conditions, in all candor are often linked to income. If you are wealthy the chances of you living in a polluted area are less. This is part of the negative cycle of lower income, its not just that you have less to live on, but you are more likely to live in unhealthy conditions, like more polluted areas.

The study didn’t do much in the way of calculating other factors but again, if we use simple logic it makes sense to say that exposure to pollution will increase the chances of psychiatric disorders. The answer to this is obviously, pollute less. Globally more and more we are working toward less pollution.

Part of that work is to address, and minimally discuss poverty. Poverty often leads to bad habits which reproduce themselves generationally. Simply put, you learn behaviors by observing. Creating health environments for underprivileged people should be the aim of government. Other than defense, isn’t the purpose of government to enrich the lives of the people they represent?

A sustained concerted effort to improve the environment will not only prolong the life of the planet and everything on it but create the conditions by which everyone, regardless of income levels will be able to enjoy clean air. According to this study, that will lead to less psychiatric disorders and who doesn’t want that?