The nation celebrated its first Earth Day in 1970, April 22—a response to the widespread awareness of the devastating pollution of our country. Remember Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962)? The Cuyahoga River on fire?Urban smog? In July 1969 we had had the first moon landing; with the Apollo 17 crew in 1972 we saw the Blue Marble image of Earth. How small we are in the Heavens!
The first Earth Day led to the creation of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency, December 1970)and federal legislation expanding specific rules and
actions for clearing up our air, mandating personnel training, emission controls of industry, and transportation fuels. Water was next with the Clean Water Act (1972) and then our Endangered Species Act (1973). Earth Day became an annual world event, leading to the Paris Agreement of 2016 and its focus on climate change which is affecting the world’s patterns of rainy and dry seasons, the ocean’s temperature, global glaciers and the stability of our polar ice packs.
Just consider our resource of water—depending on where you live in our states, plenty of it and sometimes too much? Is it drinkable, much less available for you if you rely on a well or spring or water pipes? A reminder: less than 1% of Earth’s total fresh water is available for us and as the polar snow and ice packs or glaciers diminish their water either goes into the salty ocean or dries up in the land heat. Despite the Vatican’s calls supporting water as a human right, our political powers such as the US and Europe cannot agree—Kyoto Water Forum 2013.
In a snapshot of our Earth today we see her burning [California 2018, Australia and the Amazon 2019-20], parched due to droughts or flooded and whipped by excessively strong hurricanes and rains. All God’s creatures—animal, aquatic, bird and human—are suffering from the smoke and pollution of chemicals in what we wear, eat, and breathe. We cannot continue to rely upon piecemeal or individualized actions as tree planting, composting, solar heat or rainwater collection.
Should not this Earth Day and the days, weeks, months following be revolutionary once again? Can we not strive to be truly transformed in our own way of seeing what God has given us? Can we become the preachers for all through our decisions (personal and social) in what we drive, how we illumine our buildings, conserve our own lands or support in our larger communities? This is the Common Good of our Earth World which we broadcast.