Saturday, April 22, 2006

Earth Day as a model for energy independence

Today is the 26th anniversary of Earth Day and an important day to reflect on how us Christians are taking care of God's gift of creation. A look around at God's creation should be enough to motivate all his children to do more to care for the environment, but we don't because we are sinful and selfish. It is easy to say that environmental degradation is too big for one person to do much. Too complicated, too unsure of the science, too etc...Yet those are lame excuses. Too whom much is given, much is expected.

Rather than beat ourselves up, we can celebrate the wonderful acts of Congress and everyday Americans on this Earth Day and use those accomplishments as a springboard for future action.

Only those within earshot of the Oval Office still question whether humans are contributing to global warming. There is an emerging environmental majority in the US, but without vision that majority won't go anywhere. So it is one thing for the Democrats to urge greater energy independence, but we need more than that. We need a serious plan to deal with America's oil addiction and its horrible effects on the environment.

As the podcast from the US Embassy in London points out. Much has been done since 1970 to improve America's environment. No longer are rivers on fire, no longer is the air deadly to breathe in many major cities and no longer is the American icon, the Bald Eagle, on the brink of extinction.

Those accomplishments were achieved through passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts. They set minimum requirements for how Americans should act and have American have met or exceed those standards for the last 26 years. All of this has been accomplished while improving the standard of living for Americans and keeping our economy growing.

Don't think that all positive environmental legislation is from a by-gone era. America was a major force behind the Montreal Protocol on Substances Which Deplete the Ozone Layer of 1987. The ozone layer is already beginning to repair itself, although it could take decades for complete healing.

America has been successful in overcoming environmental challenges in the past. We can do so again. Let us use Earth Day as a day to celebrate the positive outcomes of environmental legislation and American ingenuity! Now we must turn and solve the environmental problems of the 21st century by achieving energy independence from petroleum.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,