Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Green Generation

Earth Day April 22
Today is the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day. Like many holidays it gets easy to take events for granted. But if the weather in CA is any indication of a change in climate then we should be concerned. 93 degree temperatures in San Francisco proper (not just across the Bay) isn't normal weather. Likewise neither is snow in Atlanta at the beginning of April or 35 degrees on the East Coast. I know it probably gets boring to hear about droughts in some areas while there's too much of some other condition elsewhere but this has significant ramifications. It affects how we get food, what kind of crop is yielded and its frequency. A farmer's livelihood depends on it. 

As the Obama administration rolls out the greatly-touted "Green Jobs" some of us will watch that ship pass us by if we aren't prepared to hop on board. From Van Jones being offered a position to Majora Carter's work in the low-income neighborhoods in the Bronx we do have people of color looking ahead to see how these things will impact all of us. Having clean water is a life and death situation for people in (re)developing countries but it also impacts those people in areas where there may be toxic waste in close proximity. It's usually an economically depressed area populated by people of color, like San Francisco's Hunters/Baypoint area.

We need to get off the coal teat once and for all. We need a national high speed rail system as well as an affordable and reliable public transportation scheme. I know a couple that refit the engine on their vehicle to accept cooking oil and they save thousands per year as their car only requires a minimal amount of gas now and they recycle it. We can do little things to save the environment and lower our bills by switching to long-life bulbs and unplugging appliances that aren't in use. Recycling and composting are other methods.

With the economy being so precarious now is a great time to take up knitting, gardening and other old-fashioned activities that the Western world may find "quaint" but that millions of people around the world utilize to this day. It also fosters a sense of community where people may be reintroduced to developing relationships with their neighbors. If people feel responsible for each other they'll be more likely to look out for one another, clean up their neighborhoods and take an interest in maintaining a functioning environment. 

Investing in locally grown food will sustain communities better than relying on off-season food being shipped in halfway around the world. With childhood obesity at an all-time high clearly parents have allowed cheap foodstuffs and advertising to take over their lives. As we know providing nutritious meals to children aids in their development and learning skills. The charity.water campaign is doing great things as well. So check out the official Earth Day website for information and a list of local events and national initiatives you can participate in. Knowledge is power!

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