Honoring Mother Earth
Should April 22 be a Recognized Federal Holiday?
By Carol Fisher
The History Channel tells us that Earth Day was “the brainchild of Senator Gaylord Nelson and inspired by the antiwar protests of the late 1960’s. It began as a national teach-in on the environment …” On that first Earth Day, 20 million people gathered in American streets. Thirty-nine years later, Earth Day was renamed International Mother Earth Day by the UN, and this year more than one BILLION people around the world will celebrate. We’ve come this far. Now, let’s make it an official holiday.
The 2017 theme is Environmental and Climate Literacy. It is the one year anniversary of the Paris Agreement, created to build a world that, around the globe, we will help her stay healthy and strong enough to sustain the 7.5 billion people who inhabit her vast spaces and her hidden nooks and crannies. That’s a lot of people to take care of! Mother Earth has a very large family.
Consider the word family. She is our mother. We are her offspring. Look around your home. Would Mom be happy with you if you left the place the way we are leaving the earth? What might she say if you took your empty soda bottles and plastic grocery bags and threw them all over the living room? (BTW, there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic garbage floating in our oceans. Ocean Crusaders tells us that of that about 270 tons float on the surface and the rest are microfibers. Per NOAA Office of Response and Restoration, aside from the trash that is floating around and filtering through our oceans, killing off wildlife (1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine creatures per year) and fish (2/3 of worldwide fish stock suffer from ingestion of plastic particles) as it goes along, The Great Lakes are also in danger. OUR Great Lakes that contain over 20% of the WORLD’S fresh water supply! Recently, I read an article in the Buffalo News stating that Lake Erie is highest in concentration of microfibers of the five. They traced it back to FLEECE! Could we winter lovers be contributing to this?
Plastics. Please carry your own bags. As I kid, mom would send me on the bus (earlier, the street car-but we won’t go there) and give me two oilcloth bags in which to tote home the fresh produce, kielbasa, fresh bread and yep, duck’s blood that I’d watch poured out of a duck they’d butcher for me in the market. Today, shoppers all over this globe use more than 500 billion single use bags per year. 4 trips to the grocer in a week gathers up 60 bags, on average. Imagine! That comes out to 1 million bags EVERY MINUTE across the globe, or 150 bags and rising, for YOU. Join them end to end, they would circumnavigate the globe 4,200 times. Maybe it’s time for New York State, or Cattaraugus County to ban those nasty little bags. Or, be like Ireland where they charge 15 cents per bag. This brought their usage down by 90%, and probably added to the financial coffers. In Seattle, I was handed my items wrapped in paper tissue. When I asked for a bag, she said I would have to pay for it. Attaway! Oh, yes, and now, we add to the numbers by picking up our doggies’ poo in cute little bags, which I would hope, might be biodegradable. What’s wrong with paper bags that could be deposited in community cans? If a community makes the pick-up regulation, they might want to accommodate the law with depositories. How about it Ellicottville???
So, folks…Be good kids. Help Mom by cleaning up your little corner of your earth home. Be your own event on the 22nd and be sure to be at the Arboretum for a tree planting on the 28th between 11 and noon. For Earth Day go to the Park, or the Arboretum, or Griffis Park, or ASP for the day, grab a bunch of paper bags to fill with winter debris, which is everywhere. A huge thank you to our Alley Cats who always make Ellicottville an even more beautiful place, and all of you who stop to pick up and trash bits and pieces as you walk along our beautiful streets. Happy Earth Day to Mother Earth and to one and all!