I’m surprised to learn that the very first Earth Day was held in 1970, and gave rise to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Though I was still living in the States at that time, I regret to say that I have no recollection of the event. Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring, published in 1962 was the beginning of a growing awareness and appreciation for the environment among Americans. In 2020 Earth Day will celebrate its 50th year. Fifty years. So little progress. A U.S. president denies climate change and rolls back environmental protections installed by the previous administration. I despair.
Last night my husband and I watched on Netflix the third chapter of “Our Planet”, a 2019 National Geographic Series narrated by David Attenborough. Each episode features a particular ecosystem. The jungle was the focus of the third chapter. As in the first two episodes, the spectacular, startling photography had us captivated. Yet, Richard Attenborough’s message was extremely disturbing. With statistics (did you know that the world’s population has doubled since man landed on the moon?) and graphic examples he explained how, through human depredation and climate change, we are fast losing and devastating the earth’s natural world.
This week and last, thousands of marchers have congregated in major thoroughfares of London blocking traffic demanding governmental action on climate change. Over a thousand have been arrested. I want to join the London marchers. I’d be willing to face arrest.
Chile will host the COP24 UN conference on climate change in December. The country, proud to have been chosen, is making plans and organizing meetings. This also puts pressure on the government to do more on the local level. Right now, officials are dealing with organizing streets teeming with cars to handle the explosion of bicycles and scooters. My son, working in sustainability management, informed me that Chile is only second behind China in number of electric buses. A glimmer of hope.
Don’t miss “Our Planet” on Netflix. Extremely important. Spread the word!