In belated honor of Earth Day, I urge all of you to stay at home next weekend and read a book.
If enough people do that, it might make up for the environmental degradation wreaked by the actual Earth Day.
Looking at Earth Day events yesterday, I could not find a single one dedicated to the most helpful thing we can do for our environment: Don’t drive, unless you’re one of the tiny sub-percentage of people who don’t rely on internal combustion engines.
No, it was full of all the traditional activities: Plant a tree, pick up litter, recycle stuff. All of these are worthy activities: Planting the tree will suck up CO2 and help fight global warming; the litter could end up as runoff polluting our waterways; the recyclables might end up taking up landfill space and leaching chemicals into ground water.
But as the Union of Concerned Scientists has noted, all of these activities we spend so much time obsessing over don’t amount to a hill of milk jugs when it comes to what we do with our cars.
Spaceship Earth can tolerate landfills, but once we screw up our atmosphere, we, the bunnies and green things are done for.
So to whip up enthusiasm for saving the planet, millions of Americans got into their cars and drove to the nearest park for Earth Day. Maybe they’d have gone to a ball game or some other activity were it not for the holiday, but it seems to me that staying home and shutting down the non-essential appliances would be a more fitting, if less fun, tribute to this rock we’re trying to save.
Photo from www.ornl.gov.