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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Earth Day 2010 looks beyond climate change

Oftentimes, Earth Day goes largely unnoticed. But this year, there has been a lot more hype than usual. That’s because Earth Day 2010 marks the 40th anniversary of the holiday — and the official Earth Day Campaign plans to raise more awareness than ever before as we recognize global issues this Thursday.

Many people assume that Earth Day is mainly focused on environmental conservation. In an article on April 5 on the Go Green Energy Consulting blog, environmental writer Dan Grifen seemed to confirm this idea. He stated the following about Earth Day: “”as individuals, we must remember and realize the importance of global warming and all of its implications.”” However, his emphasis didn’t end there. Grifen continued to explain that our focus must go beyond the common topics of global warming and climate change. He added that Earth Day also raises concern about other pressing issues, such as rebuilding nations like Haiti and Chile, alleviating poverty, providing fresh water to the world, and finding alternatives to fossil fuels.

This may seem like a lot of problems to take on, but the official Earth Day Campaign completely agrees with Grifen’s position. It’s obvious that the campaign recognizes the importance of many issues in today’s world. On their website, the campaign states that, “”Forty years after the first Earth Day, the world is in greater peril than ever … Earth Day 2010 is a pivotal opportunity for individuals, corporations and governments to join together and create a global green economy.”” Consequently, the campaign’s site lists a variety of topics that are considered important “”core issues.”” Among them are advocacy, climate change, conservation & biodiversity, education, energy, food & agriculture, recycling & waste reduction, sustainable development and water. It’s a long list, and many of them involve various people and countries. The issues stem from deep within society and are caused by many complicated factors.

Therefore, these are serious problems that won’t be easy to solve. They’ll take time, research and resources from all around the world. But that’s exactly the point. When we think of Earth Day in a broader way, the concept makes even more sense. Earth Day isn’t just about the physical earth. It includes all the people in it, and all the crises that we share. Earth Day emphasizes philanthropy and the coming together of many nations.

It goes without saying that these are noble causes and every one of them is important to the future of the world. That’s why such issues should be especially important to us at the UA. As college students, the earth will be in our hands before we know it. The 40th anniversary of Earth Day is well-planned, with a serious focus and widespread knowledge of many global issues. But will the 50th anniversary be as well-off? What about the 60th? The 100th?

As Earth Day comes around this week, we’ll have two options from which to choose. First, we can take the opportunity to stop and think for moment. We can acknowledge the responsibility that we have to our planet and our fellow man, searching for all kinds of issues, and looking for all kinds of solutions along the way. Or, we can shrug and think no further, concluding that it can’t be a real holiday if we don’t get the day off of school.

But the second choice is a cowardly one. We can’t expect other people to fix the world for us. It’s our Earth, and our future that is on the line. So take a chance. Take Earth Day seriously this year. Even the smallest contribution could make a difference.

— Miranda Butler is a creative writing sophomore.

She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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