At a time when our world is shaken by the horror of war in Iraq, we take a look at the efforts of another "coalition of the willing" - the Earth Day Network - which includes more than 5,000 organizations in 184 countries.
Whatever the role that oil may play in this war, there is no doubt it is dirty stuff - polluting not only the environment, but motivation and thought on all sides. So let's look beyond our current dependency on fossil fuels to the increasingly obvious future of renewable energy sources and to respecting our environment, our planet and our neighbours. One way or another, we're all in it together. There is, after all, only one Earth!
Earth Day was created in 1970 in order to designate a day - worldwide - where people 'of every creed and culture would re-dedicate themselves to the care of Earth', to motivate individuals, groups and corporations into grassroots action in communities all around the world.
A phrase from earthsite.org states:
"All individuals and institutions have a mutual responsibility to act as Trustees of Earth, seeking the choices in ecology, economics and ethics that will eliminate pollution, poverty and violence, foster peaceful progress, awaken the wonder of life, and realize the best potential for the future."
While this expresses a deep global commitment and conscientious effort, each of us can contribute on an individual level in many small ways.
Perhaps by next year we will have an organized Earth Day event here on Paros. Until then, here are some reminders of specific steps we can each take that will make a difference. This Earth Day slogan speaks clearly: EVERY ACTION MATTERS.
Whether you already live a low-impact, environmentally friendly existence, or would like to begin in some way, take special notice on April 22nd. Organize just within your family or social circle a clean-up of a local beach, road or public area. Inform others. Make a pledge to include one (or more!) of the following tips into your life.
Throw litter away responsibly: This is so simple but can't be emphasized enough. Paros is a beautiful place, going to waste when careless and uncaring people aimlessly throw trash around. Please do your part.
Buy locally produced, certified organic food: Choosing local foods reduces air pollution caused by transporting food to market. Certified organic foods are grown without dangerous chemical pesticides, which means less toxic chemicals in our environment and especially in our waters.
Become a vegetarian: Commercial meat production requires vast amounts of grain, land and water and causes air and water pollution. If you cannot commit to vegetarianism, reduce the amount of meat you eat each week.
Reduce the distance you travel by car and plane: Fewer miles means less gasoline burned, which will cut smog, soot and carbon dioxide pollution.
Choose the most fuel-efficient car possible: or purchase an electric car, walk, bike, or take public transportation.
Choose clean energy: Many people on Paros have implemented wind and solar power, which cause no pollution and once purchased run at no cost (see article opposite).
Purchase the most energy-efficient appliances: Some products are awarded the 'Energy Star' label which means they are more energy efficient. When purchasing, compare labels and find the most efficient models possible.
Don't waste water: Install low-flow shower heads and efficient toilets.
Reduce your waste: Trash pollutes our land, air and water. Buy only what you need, buy in bulk, and buy products with little or no packaging.
Reuse: plastic bags, paper, jars and containers... whatever you can think of.
Recycle and buy recycled: Recycling only works when you buy back recycled products. Be sure to purchase paper that consists of 100% post consumer recycled content.
Some Popular Earth Day Campaigns
* Plant a tree * Pull the plug: don't use electricity for the day. * Don't drive/Take public transportation * Get outside: turn off the TV and (weather permitting) enjoy nature!