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  • Writer's pictureJenni Foshey

Earth: The Good And The Bad

Updated: Oct 30, 2020

Happy Earth Day! This year is an especially exciting time to celebrate our planet because it is the 50th Earth Day! This post will discuss the history of Earth Day, and Earth as we know it today (good and bad). 


 

History

After decades of pollution, over-exploitation of species and their habitats, and increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (accelerated by the industrial revolution) people all around the world demanded change for a healthier planet. All of these negative things were featured in the super famous book called Silent Spring by Rachel Carson (1962). As a conservation biology student, I can tell you that this book has been brought up and discussed in so many of my classes. Essentially, Carson wrote about how the current and predicted climatic and environmental trends were changing rapidly and negatively. By discussing pollution and its effect on public health, she was able to inspire hundreds of thousands of people to fight for a healthier planet. 

Another important person to know in the history of Earth Day is Gaylord Nelson, a former senator of Wisconsin (1969). Nelson, interested in environmental health and inspired by a recent oil spill in California, was able to engage youth in anti-pollution activism. Eventually, this idea and passion for the planet spread globally and protests and rallies rose about all across the country to fight for change. People wanted clean air, healthy oceans, stable species populations, no more oil spills, and non-polluting factories. 


All of this led to the first Earth day on April 22nd, 1970. This new holiday gave rise to new environmental laws and policies like the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Air Act. Earth Day is great because it reminds people that we need to take care of our planet. And we should not just do that on Earth day, but we need to do that every day. Our planet is so diverse in so many areas: culture, species, biodiversity, biomes, people, languages, vegetation, etc..... There are so many beautiful places to visit and so many amazing animals to see. But as good as this is, there are also bad things going on to our planet. We hear about it all the time. This constant reminder of how Earth is doing is inspiring to some people, and annoying to others. I believe keeping an open mind and knowing both the goods and the bads of our modern Earth is best for everyone. It will help people of different views and values understand one another, and will create room for better discussion on how to improve current circumstances, and what to remain unchanging. 


And now….  Earth: the good and the bad.


History referenced from https://www.earthday.org/history/


 

The Good

So often whenever people talk about the planet it is always negative. Especially now with the climate crisis as a silent killer, it can be hard to focus on the positives. Listed below are some good things to understand and know about the current state of our planet. 


  • Conservation awareness is increasing.

  • Companies that are sustainable and eco-friendly are becoming more valued, especially in the younger generations.

  • Climate change is well studied. We know what causes it and how to help it. We just need to do it. 

  • Eco-tourism is increasing and it educates and promotes wildlife conservation to people.

  • Organic and sustainable farming practices are becoming more common and more sought after, which is not only good for people’s diets, but also the soil and biogeochemical cycles associated with farming. 

  • There are a lot of people who care about the future of the Earth for generations to come and there are people whom have dedicated their lives to conservation.

  • In geological time, we have been on earth for the smallest percentage of time and we have done so much harm, but since Earth Day originated, we have also done a lot of good by raising awareness, implementing laws and policies, and studying the environment a lot closer. 

There is hope. It is hard to talk about the hope because then people may forget all the bad there is that we should be focusing on. Today, a Jane Goodall Documentary "Hope" will be playing on the National Geographic channel at 9/8central, Hulu, and Disney+. The trailer to this documentary "Hope" is below. To see more about Dr. Jane Goodall and her mission, check out this website by the Jane Goodall Institute.


 

The Bad

The negatives. This is what people don’t want to hear about. However, it is so important that it is discussed because it is crucial to understand.


  • Climate Change. This is a huge topic all in itself. I could go on forever. Basically, the Earth’s climate is changing. People always talk about how the Earth’s global average temperature has and is on track to increase a few degrees in a few years. Now, you may think, “so what, it's just 1-2 degrees”. But, think about it like this: If your body temperature raises just a few degrees, you have a fever and are sick. That’s the same thing with our planet. Increasing temperatures indicates a sicker planet. To learn more about climate change, visit my climate crisis blog post here.

  • Selfishness. A huge problem, more so in developed countries like the US, is being selfish. Countries that are least affected are the ones causing the issues for other countries. For example, it’s clear that the US has major greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to climate change. One impact of climate change is rising sea levels. Don’t get me wrong, this is occurring on US coastlines, but not to the extent it is on tropical islands, like Haiti or Indonesia. People’s homes are being destroyed. Habitats decimated. In general, when people think they are unaffected, they tend not to care about or even believe climate change is real. In order to understand, we need to be open minded and properly educated on this issue. 

  • Biodiversity loss. For those who do not know what biodiversity is, it is basically a term describing how diverse the animals and plants are on Earth. The more diverse, the better. We are experiencing a rapid loss of biodiversity for many reasons. Some reasons are climate change, invasive species, over-exploitation, habitat loss, and pollution- just to name a few. 

  • Politics. This can be a very touchy subject. I am not writing this in favor of one political party over the other. Politics are a “bad” thing for the planet because they can cause fights between political parties. When fights happen, simply the opposing sides do not listen to one another and try to understand the other’s side. No matter what party you support (if any), the health of our planet should be a common ground for all. In the end, we are nothing without our planet. If Earth goes, so do we. Politics are always going to be an issue for many topics, but it should not be a factor in deciding whether or not we should work to help our planet. Again, this is unbiased. I am simply stating that politics can be bad for the Earth.


One of favorite videos of all time is below. Please please give it a watch.



and this one, too...



 

I could go on about the good and bad about the Earth, but what I discussed and listed above are the most important ones. As we now are celebrating our 50th anniversary of Earth Day, please keep in mind both the positives and negatives of our only home- Earth. 


Get outside, pick up some litter, eat a plant-based meal, recycle, limit your electricity use, consider eco-conscious transportation, and don’t forget to love and protect our planet not only today, but every day. 


Feel free to message me with any ideas, questions, or comments! I’d love to hear from you! Also be sure to give this post a like and share with friends!

 

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