Earth Day is an internationally celebrated day to show our support for environmental protection. This year’s Earth Day, which falls on April 22 annually, marks the worldwide event’s 50th anniversary.
With the coronavirus outbreak dominating the news, it’s likely that Earth Day’s golden anniversary will come and go as a blip. This will be a huge missed opportunity. On the flip side, however, with much of business and travel ground to a halt, the planet itself is getting a bit of a reprieve—and I hope people are looking at everything they do and even don’t do in life differently.
I’m a big believer in making every day Earth Day to save the planet and will share some key ways we can do so in this story. First, to help drive home this notion, I need to raise a question that will put a lens on the state of our planet’s health and highlight a few needed points.
The question is: Are we better off now, after having had 49 Earth Days and almost 50 whole years to clean up our acts, or back in 1970, when 20 million Americans—one in 10—demonstrated along both coasts and all throughout the heartland for a healthy and sustainable environment?
To me, the answer is easy: We are much worse off now simply when you consider the fact that our global human population of 7.8 billion far outstrips the 1970 population of 3.7 billion. This represents 2.1 times as many mouths to feed and bodies to transport across our great green earth—or is it mostly asphalt, railroad track and concrete by now?
Consider this: 10,000 years ago, 99 percent of the biomass, or total mass of living matter in an environmental area, comprised wild animals. Today? Human beings and the animals raised as food such as chickens, cows and pigs make up 98 percent of the biomass.
Talk about running the planet! Now let’s look at how we’re running it into the ground before we get to some great ways to save the planet.
It’s well-known that human beings are takers, raiding the planet of its resources for shelter, clothing, a galaxy of widgets and so much more. As I see it, the main reason we’re in so much trouble is that we aren’t in nature enough to actually feel her heartbeat. Human beings left their origins in the tropics for survival or by choice, and this helped eventually set in motion the creation of agriculture and civilization, spelling the end of freedom as we once knew it. Once money and trade came along and technology progressed, responsibilities and distractions pulled us out of nature, for the most part.
If our massive and rising human population makes for a planet that’s worse off, and if you value life and the right to life for all species as well as fundamentally object to government and cabal plans to thin out the population such as through GMOs and particulate raining down on all life, then we each have a huge job to do in helping our Mother Earth breathe much easier so we all can, too.
A huge job!
This job is made all the bigger when we consider that U.S. President Donald Trump has gone out of his way to dismantle environmental regulations to appease the worst pollution offenders. These are businesses whose owners happen to donate lots of money to political campaigns. Going green? Puh! This is all about giving greenbacks to get more on the back end at the expense of you, me, all living creatures and the health and future of the planet.
This job we all have is made even bigger when you consider environmental experts’ blaring-horn warning that 2050 could spell the end of the world as we know it—with overpopulation, climate-induced sea level rise and dwindling land and freshwater resources converging to create an unsustainable home.
Folks, we are in some serious shape that should have you wanting to drop what you’re doing, pay attention, learn more and take action!
Earth Day Is Designed to Bring Focus to the Environment
Earth Day launched in 1970, after U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson dreamed up the idea for a national day to focus on the environment after seeing the destruction caused by an oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, the prior year, according to EarthDay.org’s history page. Some point to peace activist John McConnell in helping get the ball rolling when he proposed, at a UNESCO conference in 1969, a day to honor the Earth and concept of peace on the first day of spring the following year, the Earth Day Wikipedia page highlights.
At the time, parts of America were used to take-it-to-the-streets action, at the tail end of the Vietnam War. Although these peace rallies and sometimes full-on protests that turned violent captured Americans’ attention, especially as television news programs grew in viewership and popularity, it still took many, many years for this war to end. In today’s age of clicks, likes and shares, this kind of visceral experience of standing and sweating and shouting with equally passionate souls as part of a communal experience is missing—and things get forgotten about quickly because there’s so much noise out there. This said, there’s still value in digital activism, with the energy of massive clicks, likes and shares helping propel projects toward completion.
I recall first learning about Earth Day as a seventh-grader in 1990, when this event went global and recycling efforts got a major and needed boost. I recall playing flag football during gym class and watching a white-haired man drop off neatly twine-tied newspaper stacks to recycle week after week. About this time, my household’s garbage company gave us and neighbors our first recycling bins. Fast forward 17 years, when I worked at a large Philadelphia university, and I recall being aghast over learning that recycling efforts were largely for show because of sorting challenges the school and/or city’s garbage and recycling departments faced.
I recall taking an interest in the first Story of Stuff video come 2008. Two years later, I watched Food, Inc. and almost completely eliminated red meat, with bigger and better changes coming quickly thereafter, with my going vegan and then raw vegan in less than a year. I can’t say Earth Day, however, ever had a huge impact in my life until recent years, when I became a student of our planet’s environmental woes and set out in earnest to help save the planet. I truly started learning about the environment while researching information that made its way into my raw vegan diet guide Alive!. When I watched Cowspiracy for the first time, on Earth Day 2015, it shook me to my core. I still haven’t shut up about this hard-hitting documentary, which paints a startling picture of the lies, corruption and damage connected to animal agriculture.
Animal Agriculture Is the Leading Cause of Planet-Warming Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Cowspiracy excels at framing statistics using real-life and illustrated examples to help us understand what’s happening with our environment. When I first watched the movie, one statistic, in particular, stood out: Animal agriculture is responsible for 51 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. This study has met some criticism, however, and in the Netflix cut, produced in tandem with Leonardo DiCaprio, this statistic is replaced with one from another study, documenting 18 percent.
How does this 18 percent compare with automobile usage? All the 1 billion automobiles on the planet account for 14 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. It’s worth noting that animal agriculture emissions are projected to increase 80 percent by 2050.
Human beings’ reliance on animals and their byproducts as food has put the future of the planet as a sustainable home for us and all life in jeopardy. The bacon cheeseburger is not only killing animals but killing people and the environment at a very rapid pace.
During my raw vegan journey, I’ve always strived to respect others’ food choices, even if I disagree with them. I see most of these folks as just like my old self, in the dark, before I had my eureka moments, before I got enlightened on how the foods you eat affect your 24/7 experience in life and can open worlds to you. And before I grasped the idea of the suffering and killing going on of our fellow living beings to produce foods unfit for the human body. And before I understood that animal products—and even cooked and processed foods, because of needless resource use—are destroying the planet. I have to tell you, I’m speaking out much more, even if this makes people uncomfortable. Most people haven’t spent a lot of time exploring diet and the environment, and I’m not going to remain silent on a sinking ship when I have the voice, passion and responsibility to lead. If you have much to share but have been quiet, I encourage you to shake things up. You’ll feel better, and your voice is needed to help save the planet!
Ways to Save the Planet As We Make Every Day Earth Day
I can understand if you feel edgy and/or overwhelmed while reading this story. Saving the planet is a weighty topic, after all. In a world full of endless issues, saving the planet is clearly tops on the list. I’m aware that some don’t get excited by this topic because they don’t see how their efforts are making a difference, especially in the face of a challenging future, but I can assure you every effort helps make a difference.
Let me show you how.
The 1985–86 Los Angeles Lakers played their hearts out but didn’t win the NBA championship. Coach Pat Riley came up with a formula for success for the following season. He inspired each player to improve their performance by just 1 percent in five key areas. From Magic Johnson to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the team was convinced they could level up their performance. Each player had to dedicate himself to only a 5 percent increase, but multiplied by 12 players, this produced a 60 percent improvement for the team. With their Showtime offense, the Lakers bested the Boston Celtics in six games in the next NBA Finals.
What can you do to be a champion in helping save the planet? Take a few moments to brainstorm.
Parting Thoughts on How to Make Every Day Earth Day to Save the World
It’s taken a while, but mainstream media are now shining a light on our environmental issues more regularly, and word is getting out there more and more, raising collective consciousness. Still, talk about how plant-based and raw vegan diets can help improve the environment needs much more attention. The media have put coronavirus news on everyone’s radar, and from what is being reported, folks by and large are following guidance to quarantine themselves, restricting travel and group meetings.
I’ll end this story with a question: If people are concerned with their health and the health of their loved ones and are following coronavirus guidance to remain largely in isolation, then why do some people not believe and why are most people not overly concerned with environmental experts’ clarion calls to tread more lightly on the planet in making our best effort to save her for us, our loved ones and all life forms to enjoy for a long, long time to come?
Be an activist for the Earth!