Saving Our Precious Planet

There are several issues vying for top contender when it comes to saving our planet. The one that seems to get the most press is, of course, climate change. And this is indeed a critically important concern. An ever-warming planet means more wildfires, more floods, rising sea levels, and fiercer hurricanes, monsoons, and tornados. As a lot has been written about this topic, I’d like to bring up a few other equally pressing concerns.

One that absolutely boggles my mind is the poisoning of our planet. Do you remember how, in cartoons in the old days, poison used to have a very prominent skull and crossbones on it? Well, apparently, that image is now bad for business, because poison is present in every box store and just about every hardware store in the country, sans the poison label. It’s also in many American homes and is used by most farmers–especially the big agribusiness farms. I’m talking, of course, about weedkillers and pesticides.The most common weedkiller is Roundup. Roundup’s parent company used to be Monsanto; now it’s Bayer. And both companies have been in involved in hundreds of lawsuits. Monsanto/Bayer had to pay one plaintiff $300 million, another $86.7 million (originally $2 billion was awarded by the jury!) (1) And yet the official stance of Bayer/Monsanto is “The consensus among national pesticide regulatory agencies and scientific organizations is that labeled uses of glyphosate have demonstrated no evidence of human carcinogenicity.” (2) Sadly, the Environmental Protection Agency was created, obviously, to help protect the environment, but under the former president, it was stacked with pro-industry people who continue to weaken, instead of protecting, environmental law. (3) Meanwhile, there certainly do seem to be links between Roundup and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. (4) (5) Personally, I think it’s pretty obvious that something that is meant to kill one form of life is certainly not going to be healthy for other forms of life. When will we learn that we are all connected?

A third environmental concern, related to the above, is the quality of our water. It is crazy, is it not, that in just three centuries we have made every river and lake, plus all except the most remote creeks in the world, absolutely unpotable. Why would we do such a thing to something that is so essential for human life, indeed all of life on the planet? How can we refuse to see water as sacred? Sadly, even our aquifers, those deep reservoirs of water beneath the surface of the earth, are becoming polluted. Fracking is one of the most egregious culprits. (6)

There is one more concern that deeply touches my heart. This is the rapid decline of many species of animals, including the populations of the smallest animals: the birds, bees, butterflies, bats, frogs, and lightning bugs. We seem to have forgotten the importance of insects to the web of life. They not only feed birds, frogs, salamanders, bats, and many other small creatures, they are critically important in their role of cleaning up waste, in decomposing logs and other matter in order to create soil, and as pollinators to our crops, ensuring the survival and flourishing of plant life on the planet. To learn more about the decline of bird, butterfly, and bee populations, as well as what you can do, click HERE to download a 2-page flyer. Please feel free to distribute widely.




(3) One example of pro-industry EPA interference:




Banner image: Sunset from San Juan Island. Photo by Cynthia Greb.

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