Reflecting on Earth Day 2008

The world is facing a major climate crisis. As human beings, each one of us is a cause of global warming.

Now let’s think. Earth Day is not just about the trees and air. It’s about the overall health of our planet. We’re facing a population crisis, religious wars, and food shortages.

We’re not just victims, we’re not useless. Remember Earth Hour last month? In Toronto, we used nearly 10% less energy during that hour. And the rest of the world participated too, showing that we can take action to save our earth.

We’re going to kill ourselves if we don’t act though. Some glaciers in the Tibetan Plateau, which provide half of the drinking water for 40% of the world’s population, are melting. If these glaciers disappear, 2.6 Billion people may face a serious drinking water shortage. Also, don’t be blaming third-world countries for pollution either. The U.S. emits one quarter of the world’s greenhouse gasses, while the entire continent of Africa is responsible for only about 5 percent! The US is depleting their water supply so much that they may eventually have to buy our fresh water. How about this one: in 40 years, there will be no seafood left to catch.

So, I could read statistics all morning. But I’m not going to. We’re destroying our Earth and ourselves here. We are living on borrowed time. This is an illusion of prosperity and success. It will suddenly come to an end. There are limits to our current global society.

What’s that? You want do something about it? Great! Don’t buy disposable stuff. Turn off your computer. Donate. Don’t buy things with more packaging than actual product! Drive less. Volunteer. Recycle.

Speaking of recycling at d’Youville, we should get going on that. Apparently it’s not in the custodians’ contract to collect our recycling. We need to work towards getting thins like this corrected. Or, do the recycling yourself, like the grade 12 at Cardinal Leger who single-handedly became his school’s recycling program. This winter, he armed himself with a garbage bag and picked up 50 pop cans from the caf, still noticing a lot more in the garbage. So he put on gloves and dug around for cans in the trash. He collected 90 more cans. Then he started to collect 200 cans a day, for a month, stored them in his garage, and then dropped them off at a scrap metal facility. That’s dedication.

Don’t want to do it alone? Get involved in a group. Don’t just sit there; go to greenpeace.org, sierraclub.ca, wwf.ca, earthroots.org, eco.ca, naturecanada.ca, peyalliance.com, or thegreenguide.ca.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says this: “Man must respect the particular goodness of every creature, to avoid any disordered use of things which would be in contempt of the Creator and would bring disastrous consequences for human beings and their environment” (Catechism 339).

So let’s respect our environment in all ways we can. We’re the generation that’s going to make the difference. Let’s not be one of the last surviving generations of mankind, alright?

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