Working towards peace and sustainability

Earth Day is Upon Us.

Earth Day 2014 will be celebrated here in CoMo on Sunday, April

27. There’ll be a big Festival going on in Peace Park and on the adjacent streets. You can get all the info on the Festival if you click HERE.
Peaceworks has played a leading role in organizing Columbia’s Earth Day every year since 1990, so this is our 25th consecutive year of Earth Day organizing. It seems to us that having a day devoted to celebrating the home world, the only known habitable planet, Earth, is the least we can do, especially at a time when human activity so acutely threatens the future.

The media generally downplays environmental concerns and they certainly don’t give as much attention as we’d like to Earth Day. When they do cover the event, however, they often focus on “who, what, where and when?” while glossing over, or ignoring entirely, “why?” When they interview us, the most frequently asked question is usually some variant on “So, tell us what’s new or different this year?” when we’d much rather be answering “So, tell us why you think it’s important to have a holiday focused on the Earth?”

The answer to the latter question isn’t terribly complicated. The way we live today is unsustainable. We are polluting the air and the water. We’re using up non-renewable resources. We’re creating vast inventories of toxic and radioactive wastes and we’re failing to isolate these from the biosphere. We’re destroying nature and crowding out other species.

Ongoing human population growth along with rising levels of resource consumption per capita just doesn’t work on a finite planet. Our economy, including all its major systems—food, transportation, industrial production, housing, healthcare, education, etc.—is organized in unsustainable ways.

And, when we get right down to it, there are true existential threats we face—in particular, climate change and nuclear war. These really should be the overarching concerns of our age. The former is happening as you read this and the latter is an ever-present threat.

While Earth Day does not present a single, neat, clean, simple answer to all of the above, it points out the problems we face—loud and clear—and puts forward the message that we all are responsible and we all need to act to address these. Getting this message out is why we do Earth Day. We start with the notion that no one can do everything, but everyone can do something. We point out that individual actions matter and collective action is needed as well. And we remind our fellow earthlings, over and over again, “Every day is Earth Day.” Here’s to hoping that message gets through.

Have a great Earth Day 2014 everyone, and let us know if you’d like to volunteer.