Earth Day time to reflect, take action for environment


elogancartoon422As April 22 approaches, we are all reminded of the importance of protecting the environment. Earth Day, a day devoted to the celebration of our environment and a time to assess the work needed to protect the natural gifts of our planet, comes only once a year. Today, many people have become more conscious than ever about the environment and protecting it. But in a time where a great debate rages over the magnitude of Global Warming and mankind’s contribution, we all need to step back and agree on one thing: there is only one Earth and we need to protect and preserve it.

We live in a time when air pollution has reached all-time high levels. In recent years, the amount of cars on the road, some 250 million according to the U.S. Bureau of Transit Statistics, has contributed to roughly 60 percent of all carbon emissions nationwide. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas and is formed when the carbon in fuels does not completely burn. Carbon monoxide leads to air pollution which threatens the health of people and other living things. This is a major problem in urban cities like Los Angeles. Even though it is often invisible, pollutants in the air can produce smog or acid rain. These cause cancer and other serious health risks, along with depleting the ozone layer.

And as pollution affects our air, it also affects our water. There are direct and indirect contaminant sources. Direct sources include waste treatment plants and effluent contaminants from factories or refineries. These emit fluids directly into urban water supplies. In the United States and other countries, these practices are regulated but that doesn’t mean contaminants can’t be found in the water. Indirect sources of water pollution include contaminants that enter water supplies from groundwater systems and from the atmosphere by acid rain. Groundwater contains the residue of human agricultural practices and improperly disposed industrial waste. The effects of water pollution vary. Some include poisonous drinking water for both people and animals but water pollution can also unbalance river and lake ecosystems to a point where they can no longer support biological diversity.

Earth Day is important for all of us to reflect on the environment and its delicacy, and we need to be cognizant of the interrelatedness of environmental areas. Smog, for example, affects air pollution in large cities and acid rain also contaminates the water supply. This makes protecting our environment even more important.

April 22 is not a day to argue over Global Warming and its truth but to look at the physical evidence that, to some extent, mankind is polluting the Earth. Many people want to reverse these effects but don’t know where to begin. You don’t have to make large, drastic lifestyle changes. Just take Earth Day as a starting point of your more conscious mind and your actions on the environment; and start small. Make sure your computer and monitor power management settings are optimized, so they go into sleep mode when you’re away from your desk, for example. This simple task actually reduces greenhouse gas production. Carpool or ride your bike more to help reduce car emissions. This helps both air and water pollution. One can also use the microwave to cook small meals; it uses less power than an oven. The Earth needs protecting and your small changes can make a huge difference.