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Earth Day - celebration or concern?

Original post made by Tyler Hanley, digital editor of Palo Alto Online, on Apr 22, 2008

Today, April 22, is Earth Day, and the City of Palo Alto has organized an array of events this month for "Earth Month." So what are your thoughts on Earth Day? Is it a reason for celebration (appreciating the beauty and diversity of nature), or cause for concern (the effects of global warming)?

Will you plant a tree or ride your bike today? Or is Earth Day no different than any other day? Give us your thoughts.

Comments (21)

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Posted by Rescind Earth Day
a resident of another community
on Apr 22, 2008 at 10:41 am

Couldn't care less about Earth Day anymore. Our city council and certain members who harp on climate change, at the expense of everything else, have soured me on "celebrating" Earth Day.

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Posted by Danny
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 22, 2008 at 10:51 am

I say celebrate -- while we still can. Global warming is a very real threat, and too often we stuff ourselves in our SUVs or sprawl out on our IKEA couches without really appreciating or respecting the value of nature. People like RED above have become bitter and disillusioned to the point of living in a bubble where wind, rain, trees and animals may as well be confined to the Discovery Channel.

Let's not forget our home -- the diverse and empowering planet Earth -- as we trek through our busy and emotion-driven lives.

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Posted by julie
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 22, 2008 at 12:35 pm

We have made dramatic gains in our air quality, emissions from car tailpipes for example are down 98% since the 60s

It is now time for the developing world to do its part.

33% of the mercury in the SF Bay atmosphere comes from China, not to mention hydrocarbons and other heavy metals

Imported food, medicine,toys etc from China is contaminated.

its time to think Local and act Global

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Posted by a
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 22, 2008 at 12:40 pm

We have record ice melt. Web Link.
Scientists push arctic ice disappearance up from 2040 to 2012 summer. Web Link
The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration finds Earth's equatorial belt has widened. Web Link
Jet stream changes are changing weather patterns and helping to expand the tropics and deserts. Web Link
Chinook Salmoon disappear. Web Link

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 22, 2008 at 12:59 pm

Earth Day means absolutely nothing to me. Not that I am one who does nothing to be green or save the planet. I have made lifestyle changes and do things that do help, but I do them regularly not just one day a year because it is the Day to do it. I am annoyed about all these people who say how about driving less today, when my lifestyle involves as little driving as possible for many reasons. My kids ride bikes or walk to school every day, I walk a great deal, but couldn't do everything by foot as it takes too long to get from the grocery store to the library and I couldn't carry everything (to use two examples). My husband uses his car for work, but drives outside the commute times so that he doesn't waste time idling in traffic.

To look around the home, there are many of the new green ideas implemented here.

But, for those who think we should behave differently to save the planet and that today is the day to do it, I ask the question "What happened to the dinosaurs and the dodo birds? Shouldn't we realise that change happens?" Yes, mankind brought about the disappearance of the dodo birds and basically we are not worse off without them. Yes, it would be nice to still have them, but we are surviving very nicely without them. Yes, we no longer have dinosaurs, but it is doubtful if dinosaurs and man could have lived together anyway and we should really be quite pleased that they are no longer around.

So, yes we should be making sensible informed decisions to do our bit to be green. But, the planet is changing, always had and always will. Man is a creature on the planet just like all others. We have made mistakes but the planet is still surviving. Yes it does make sense to look after the planet ecologically, but we don't have to loose sleep over it. I don't want my kids to fear that there will be no future for them or their children, but I do want to teach them to be responsible.

So, yes, Earth Day means nothing to me. I don't want to be scared or made feel guilty on this day for not doing my bit. Tomorrow I will do the same as I have done today, getting on with my life. The future for my kids will happen and it may not be the effects of global warming which will be the problems they have to encounter any more than it has been for me. There are much more important things for them to come to terms with and one day's observance is nothing more than a reminder to continue doing the sensible things we already do.

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Posted by ten18
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 22, 2008 at 1:00 pm

And somehow this is man's fault? CO2 is a trace gas in our atmosphere, and our contribution is a small fraction of that at best. I agree that we need to do what we can to keep toxics out of the environment, but this endless harping about anthropomorphic global warming is just sickening. The globe is warming, and there might not be a thing we can do about it. The science is not "settled." AGW is strictly a political issue now. Stop fretting, and start adapting. Oh, and BTW - this April has been the coldest that I remember.

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Posted by FairlyGreenEveryDay
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 22, 2008 at 1:24 pm

I say celebrate. I lose sleep over all the bad news and accelerated forecasts of draught, extinction, and rising oceans, but it's a matter of the glass being either half empty or half full. Today, let's be optimistic about the potential to change the direction we're heading.

I don't mean to sound like Polyanna. I'm a mother, and since we've pretty much left our next generation with a damaged planet on which to live their lives, I want to set an example to my children and others to appreciate what's still here, and what's still good and unpolluted.

(One note, though: Around my house, we try to live this way every day. Earth Day is actually not particularly special for us -- just a punctuation, like New Years Day.)

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Posted by triumph of hope over experience
a resident of Ohlone School
on Apr 22, 2008 at 1:41 pm

I thought Earth Day was a pantheist celebration but now the Marxist and Trotskyists have joined in

Bolivian President Evo Morales has told a UN forum that capitalism should be scrapped if the planet is to be saved from the effects of climate change.

“If we want to save our planet earth, we have a duty to put an end to the capitalist system,” he said.

Opening an UN meeting in New York on the rights of indigenous people, he also said the development of biofuels harmed the world’s poorest people.

The forum’s theme is the global impact of climate change on native people. Mr Morales gave the keynote address at the opening of the seventh session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. As a descendent of the Aymara people, he is Bolivia’s first indigenous president.

Bolivia’s left-wing president said unbridled industrial development was responsible for the pillaging of natural resources. Speaking through an interpreter at the UN headquarters in New York, he had this uncompromising message:

“If we want to save our planet earth, to save life, to save mankind, we have a duty to put an end to the capitalist system.”

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Posted by ten18
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 22, 2008 at 2:13 pm

That's where this has been heading all along. Environmental extremism is the ultimate lever for ushering in the new fascism.

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Posted by GMC
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 22, 2008 at 2:29 pm

If the people who are supposedly so concerned about global warming were actually taking a pragmatic approach they would be searching for ways to mitigate, or even take advantage of, the consequences. It seems unlikely that if the situation is as dire as is proposed by Gore et. al, that a little bit of lifestyle change is going to make any global difference. So essentially, short of a global statist solution, nothing can be done to stop man-made climate change. Lets face it - that's not gonna happen, which is good. So we need to stop feeling guilty for simply living our lives and start searching for ways to use technology to "heal" the planet. I think that consuming less generally has its own rewards. You can save money and just simplfy your life, and possibly focus on more important things like love, family, spirituality, etc. You can't force people to consume less - its just human nature.
If Earth day provokes a discussion, that's definitely good. There are plenty of "green" things that have great concrete benefits, and I'm happy to hear more about them.

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Posted by Neal
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 22, 2008 at 2:39 pm

As I do every day, I will lobby for population control and nuclear energy. To paraphrase Bobby Dilan, "you better start adapting or you'll sink like a stone, for the times they are a changin'."

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Posted by triumph of hope over experience
a resident of Ohlone School
on Apr 22, 2008 at 3:09 pm

Beware the individual, group, or organization that relentlessly attacks the free enterprise system, bashes big business, and bashes corporations.
Too often their real agenda is power–power to remake the economic and social systems to suit their own command-and-control goals, not to serve the public good as they so loudly proclaim.

The extremes of big government socialism and communism have been tried and found wanting in many nations, but their principles still dominate the thinking in world environmental conferences and are widely taught in many major U.S. universities.

For three-quarters of a century the Soviet Union was touted as the model of what a planned economy could do for its people. To the embarrassment of many economics professors, it imploded. It could never afford environmental protection or improvement.

Environmentalists who sincerely desire to advance their cause must disassociate themselves from anti-capitalists and destroyers of the social orders of communities, nations, and the world.

Nothing highlights this problem more than the Heidelberg Statement, which was signed in the spring of 1992 by 250 prominent scientists, including 27 Nobel Prize winners. It noted,
“We are worried at the emergence of an irrational ideology which is opposed to scientific and industrial progress and impedes economic and social development. The greatest evils which stalk our Earth are ignorance and oppression, not science, technology, and industry.

We do forewarn the authorities in charge of our planet’s destiny against decisions which are supported by pseudo-scientific arguments or false and non-relevant data.”Web Link

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Posted by a
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 22, 2008 at 3:42 pm

triumph of hope over experience,
In all humility, what is your definition of "pseudo-scientific arguments or false and non-relevant data.”?

Melting of arctic ice? Findings from NASA and NOAA?

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Posted by triumph of hope over experience
a resident of Ohlone School
on Apr 22, 2008 at 3:51 pm

I refer you to The Heidelberg Appeal Web Link which stated, in part

" We intend to assert science's responsibility and duties toward society as a whole."

We do, however, forewarn the authorities in charge of our planet's destiny against decisions which are supported by
pseudoscientific arguments or false and nonrelevant data.

The Heidelberg Appeal was publicly released at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. By the end of the 1992 summit, 425 scientists
and other intellectual leaders had signed the appeal. Since then, word of mouth has prompted hundreds more scientists to lend their
support. Today, more than 4,000 signatories, including 72 Nobel Prize winners, from 106 countries have signed it. In spite of this
spontaneous and growing support from the world's scientific community, the Heidelberg Appeal has received little media attention.

Neither a statement of corporate interests nor a denial of environmental problems, the Heidelberg Appeal is a quiet call for reason and a
recognition of scientific progress as the solution to, not the cause of, the health and environmental problems that we face.

The Appeal expresses a conviction that modern society is the best equipped in human history to solve the world's ills, provided that they do not sacrifice science, intellectual honesty, and common sense to political opportunism and irrational fears.

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Posted by a
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 22, 2008 at 9:11 pm

One way to help China reduce its pollution is to buy less from China. Buy locally made toys, medicines, cars, socks, clothes, bags, shoes, furniture, etc. Buy things made in America. Just like eating locally grown food helps to reduce our carbon footprint, buying locally produced goods will too.

Heck, buying things made in America might even boost our economy.

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Posted by crys
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 23, 2008 at 6:22 am

I am all for cleaning up our environment. I just wish people would stop staring at me when I am driving my 4 kids in our big SUV. All the "green" people are almost as bad as religion pushers. I do what I do for our environment and I shouldn't have to feel shamed because I don't ride my bicycle to work. I really can't stand preachy people..believe what you want, do what you want but don't push your opinions on me.

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Posted by Jamie
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 23, 2008 at 9:43 am

Well, in all seriousness, Crys, if you don't mind the stigma of driving around in that behemoth SUV, that's your prerogative. However, bear in mind that filling our air full of your emissions as you pass us on our bikes is not a very neighborly thing to do. If we're staring at you, maybe that's why.

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Posted by R Wray
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 23, 2008 at 10:15 am

Man lives by exploiting the Earth. We've barely scratched the surface. Being anti-technology is being anti-man and is being traitorous to our species.

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Posted by Danny
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 23, 2008 at 10:17 am

I understand both crys and Jamie's points of view. It's the age-old dilemma: Where is the line between personal freedom and helping others? Those things often conflict. We all want a healthy planet, but it's hard to give up luxuries (or, if you have a large family, necesities) like driving an SUV. Those of us who have a steadfast resolve about certain things such as the environment, religion, politics, etc., often put those who take the other side in our crosshairs. So rather than trying to unite the split sides and create a cooperative and reasonable solution, we just end up arguing with each other.

Sadly, in that scenario we all lose.

Maybe the day will come when we all find our way to the middle ground, and the planet can reep the benefits of billions of intelligent people agreeing to solve planet-wide problems while maintaining our personal freedoms.

May be just a dream, but there's nothing wrong with dreaming...

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Posted by crys
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 23, 2008 at 4:48 pm

Thank you for your understanding Danny. I appreciate you getting where I am coming from. I do my part in other ways. You really should get off your high horse Jamie. Do you get bothered when a public bus passes by you on your bicycle? A bus that helps people who can't afford their own transportation? What about school buses? Should we let our first graders walk to school?

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Posted by ShallowAltoWacktovistLeagueBioBeing
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 23, 2008 at 8:01 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

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