Every year on April 22, people come together and recognize Earth Day as a global event to celebrate, raise awareness and take action to protect our beautiful planet.
On this day Gaylord Nelson marked his debut, commonly referred to as the father of Earth Day, began giving national and political attention to environmental concerns. About 20 million Americans marched and rallied across the country in an effort to promote more sustainability in our country. Due to the success of this very first Earth Day, several laws such as the Clean Air Act, Resource Recovery Act, Endangered Species Act, etc. were inspired as well as the formation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Earth Day rose to global prominence in the 1990s which, with such immense support from millions, led to the United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992.
Despite the remarkable success of this holiday and the fact that environmental awareness is considered widespread, environmental concerns are increasing due to technological and infrastructural advancements. For more than 100 years, climate change has become more prevalent with symptoms such as sea level rise, extreme natural disasters, droughts, rising temperatures, reduced agricultural yields and erosion extreme.
Literature indicates that the burning of fossils is the main contributor to climate change due to the high release of carbon dioxide into the Earth’s atmosphere.
“Increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide is responsible for about two-thirds of the total energy imbalance that causes the Earth’s temperature to rise,” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Climate change has become politicized, creating a polarizing stalemate between different political parties. This polarization hampers dialogue and political action to address these issues.
“Climate change is not a partisan issue. Rising sea levels will destroy both mansions and modest houses. Severe storms, floods and heat waves don’t discriminate between liberals and conservatives,” said Andy Opel, professor of environmental communication and documentary filmmaking at FSU’s School of Communication.
A majority of people in Florida voted in favor of greater environmental protection and renewable energy legislation, however, little has been done to achieve these goals. Specifically, according to Florida fact sheets from Yale Climate Change Communication Program78% of FL voters think schools should teach about global warming, 73% think we should regulate CO2 as a pollutant, 70% think global warming will harm future generations, 60% think the governor should do more to fight global warming, and 77% think the state government should give tax breaks for fuel-efficient vehicles or solar panels.
“This crisis creates a huge opportunity to unite the country and build a more sustainable and equitable future, but we need a system of government that represents the majority views of the people and works for the collective benefit of all Floridians” , Opel said.
Renewable resources such as wind and solar power are considered to be one of the cheapest resources to generate electricity, thus providing a bright market for economic and environmental success. Compared to oil, coal and natural gas (the most common fossil fuels), renewable resources promote a cleaner, cheaper and endless supply of fuel. Methane, the main component of natural gas, should have “a global warming potential 21 times greater than carbon dioxide over a 100-year periodas asserted by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, thereby contributing to climate change.
For those who wish to know more about our environment and our donations, do not hesitate to visit the Conservation Fund website.