Saturday, April 22, 2006

Earth Day, April 22nd

Earth Day

When I was in school, on Earth Day every student would get a Douglas-Fir sapling to take home to plant to make the world more green. The first year the Salem-Keizer School District did this, my parents had three children in school, and we planted three Douglas-Firs in the back yard, right in a row. The second year, my parents had four children in school, and four trees were planted right next to the three, so we had a row of seven. The following year, when four more trees came home, my mom refused to let us plant them. We were so sad. The little trees just died slowly in their little plastic body-bag-like sacks. In my nightmares I am haunted by those little murdered Earth Day trees.

As a result, I am rather sensitive about trees. The picture to the left is me in an old-growth forest, that's right 500 year old trees (part of the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest) with one of my cute brothers. (This is one of the coolest places on the earth, by the way. And I don't just think that because H.J. Andrews was my great-grandfather; they have resident poets and writers to help inspire the ecologists to think outside of the box. How cool is that!)

Anyway, I like trees. My boss decided to put in some xeriscaping, because he likes to be good to the environment and believes in reducing water consumption. The xeriscaping plans required that four trees be removed. He waited to have the trees cut down while I was on vacation so that I would not lodge a protest.

Yes, I really like trees. Every bedroom of every apartment I have lived in has been chosen based on the whether or not there is a tree outside the window. I need to hear the wind rustling through the leaves as I fall asleep or I can't fall asleep.

Anyway, because of trees, I really like Earth Day. Because I think there should be more trees in the world and so do environmentalists. And I am an environmentalist.

To read about the history of Earth Day click here. If you want to find an Earth Day activity in your area, click here. If you want to see how much you effect the earth click here. If you want the Top 10 Tips for changing your lifestyle to an environmental one, click here. If you want to see something ironic, click here. But only click on that one if you think that Bush's policies are regressive.

Reasons Why Earth Day Should Be More Widely Celebrated:

  • The world consumes two barrels of oil for every barrel discovered.
  • In 20 years the world will consume 40% more oil than it does today.
  • Vehicles in the United States release more CO2 than all the energy sources (such as heating, electricity, vehicles, and factories) in all of India.
  • Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, carbon dioxide (a green house gas linked to climate change) in the atmosphere has increased by 31%.
  • 17 Million Americans, 5 million of which are children, suffer from asthma. Public health experts are worries that those numbers will rise with continued greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Diseases such as malaria are predicted to spread as the world grows warmer, due to the carriers of disease spreading out over a larger geographical area.
  • None of the lower 48 states in the U.S. experienced below average temperatures in 2002.
(These facts are assembled from two fact sheets found here and here.)

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