Editorial: Save the world this Earth Day

Earth Day, and every day, for that matter, is a beautiful day if you know where to look.

Today (April 22) is a chance to celebrate the whole wide world we live in, and our own little rock, the surrounding sea and the air above. It’s also an opportunity to think about how we’re taking care of our home.

It’s encouraging to see that there are people who care. So many issues in and around the city, it seems, centre around environmental considerations. The incinerator debate drew a crowd to council chambers. Citizens and politicians advocate for trails, compressed natural gas buses, passenger rail, bicycle commuting. Protesters put up a fuss over development in Linley Valley and Oliver Woods. A visit from federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May last week drew a couple of hundred people dead-set against pipelines and tanker traffic.

We can’t stop progress. Eventually those houses in the Linley Valley will have SUVs in the driveways, those commuters will fill up their tanks with regular unleaded and they’ll speed past slowpokes in the cycle lanes. All this will happen, and maybe that’s OK, but it would sure be a shame if we just let this sort of thing happen without ever speaking up.

When tree huggers chain themselves to evergreens, their civil disobedience is our conscience. Whether we choose to listen to their pleas, at least we have someone to speak for the trees before we decide to clear cut or not.

The good news is we don’t need to stare down a timber harvester to celebrate Earth Day. Each of us can do as much as we like, and it will make a difference. And though it’s easy to lament the mess we’re making of the planet, we should believe that each generation that follows will be more aware of its environment and more determined to save the world.

In the meantime, let’s challenge ourselves to do better. Let’s pledge respect, stewardship, harmony. On Earth Day, the planet’s special day, let’s offer the Earth not only our best wishes, but our best efforts.

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