Go Green: Earth Day 2024

 Go Green: Earth Day 2024

By Tom Last

Earth Day 2024 is on April 22 and this year’s theme is “Planet versus Plastics.” The first Earth Day was in 1970 and it brought out more than 20 million Americans for peaceful demonstrations across the country in favor of environmental reform. Senator Gaylord Nelson planted the seeds for the first Earth Day as this two-term governor of Wisconsin had long sought ways to increase the exposure of environmental issues as a political issue. Earth Day is now observed in 192 countries with over one billion demonstrators in attendance, making it one of the largest secular days of protest in the world.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created through the efforts of the organizers of Earth Day, who put pressure on politicians and corporations to enact legislation to create this agency whose mission is to safeguard human health and the environment. The EPA strives to create a brighter, healthier future for all. Before the EPA was created, there were no legal or regulatory mechanisms in place to protect our environment. Corporations could spew as many hazardous gases as possible into the atmosphere or deposit unlimited waste into our soil and waters without concern of consequences. Some people may not appreciate what the EPA has done for us. If you grew up in the 1970s, you would remember an ocean that was brown and a sky with a yellowish horizon. Now we have a much cleaner and inviting ocean to swim in and improved air to breathe in many places. This takes activism, but our work is not done.

With this year’s theme being “Planet versus Plastics,” the Earth Day organization takes seriously the environmental harm caused by plastics and is calling for a 60% reduction in the production of plastics by 2040 and a goal of a plastic-free future. Unfortunately, plastic production has surged, not declined, to over 380 million tons per year, with more plastic produced in the last decade than in the entire 20th century. Every piece of plastic ever made is still in existence today. This increased usage of plastics is unacceptable if we want a healthier planet for future generations.

Plastics have an enormous impact on our health and environment. Most plastics are thrown away by consumers after single use. These plastics end up in landfills, oceans, and other waterways. The breaking down of these plastics from micro- to nano-sized particles has led to worries about how toxic they are to the environment and humans. Although there have been several studies on the effects of plastics on the environment, there have not been enough studies on their effects on the human body. The Earth Day Organization is studying the potential harmful effects nano-plastics have on humans as these plastics move through the gut, lungs, and skin epithelia in causing systemic exposure. The results of these studies of nano-plastics on humans will be important for us to understand and act on. Think about it. Do you really want nano-plastics in your body?

Here’s how you can help reduce plastic waste, it’s quite easy to do.

  • Stop buying water bottles and use re-usable water bottles only.
  • Bring your own bags to the store.
  • Bring silverware to the office and inform take-out restaurants not to put plastic utensils in your take-out bags.
  • Bring a reusable coffee mug to Starbucks or to your local coffee shop.
  • Do not use plastic straws and inform restaurant workers not to add straws to your drinks.
  • Replace plastic dishwashing and detergent liquid containers with dishwashing tablets and detergent sheets.
  • Cook more, not only is it healthier, but it doesn’t involve takeout containers.
  • Bring your own garment bag to the cleaner.
  • Ditch the cling wrap and use aluminum foil (it can be recycled) or beeswax wrap which is organic.
  • Replace plastic Tupperware containers with glass or steel containers.

Basically, anything that comes in plastic today can be replaced with materials that can be reused, recycled, and cause less environmental damage. So do your homework and start replacing plastics. For more information and tips on how to make a healthier planet you can visit NATURE.ORG/EARTHDAY.

Let’s treat every day as Earth Day and start making a difference with our environment now.

Remember, there is no Planet B.

Related post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *