Earth Day today
What is Earth Day? On 22 April each year marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. Among other things, 1970 in the United States brought with it the Kent State shootings, the advent of fiber optics, “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” Apollo 13, the Beatles’ last album, the death of Jimi Hendrix, the birth of Mariah Carey, and the meltdown of fuel rods in the Savannah River nuclear plant near Aiken, South Carolina – an incident not acknowledged for 18 years.
It was into such a world that the very first Earth Day was born.
Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, proposed the first nationwide environmental protest “to shake up the political establishment and force this issue onto the national agenda. ” “It was a gamble,” he recalls, “but it worked.”
At the time, Americans were slurping leaded gas through massive V8 sedans. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of legal consequences or bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. Environment was a word that appeared more often in spelling bees than on the evening news. Earth Day 1970 turned that all around.
On 22 April, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment. Denis Hayes, the national coordinator, and his youthful staff organized massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.
You can read more on the day’s history from the Earth Day site.
Has Brunei done anything about the Earth Day? Yes but I don’t think it’s enough. Efforts are there, campaigns are there; budget? And awareness? Awareness must first be implemented. Remember Earth Hour recently. Only on the last minute (or hours?) some organizations pledged to be involved. If awareness is raise like months before, on each and every day, just like the road safety messages by 24/7 Road Assist playing in the radio channels, I am sure Bruneians would be more aware. If hitting their heads each and every second with the same repetitive messages do not work, I don’t what else will.
I agree with the setting up of Energy Clubs among secondary schools as reported in the news yesterday. We should start at the grassroots’ level. I think such clubs should start even from the kindergarten level. Imagine our kids growing up with ‘green minds’.
Islam has reminded mankind to take care of the earth. For decades and even centuries, mankind has caused destructions and damages to the earth. Pollution, flooding and landslides are among the effects. In the holy Quran from Surah Ar-Ruum, Ayat 41 has mentioned that damages and calamities have occurred on the land and in the sea because of the act of mankind themselves. This is what God wanted them to feel because of their own bad deeds so they will change and repent. Sadaqallahul’azim.
So what can you do on this day rather than feeling sorry for what has happened? You may wish to take part in the ecological footprint quiz; sign up to be an Earth Day activist; buy Earth Day posters and t-shirts, join Earth Day network and many more. What are you waiting for? Come and join me and millions of other people in celebrating the day. Remember, not just to celebrate but to take actions as well.
Here’s to our only Earth!