Becky Emerson Carlberg
| Contributing writer

The 51st Earth Day is Thursday April 22nd. Have you made plans to do something good for the earth? Homo sapiens were not exactly kind to the earth and its other inhabitants. People have the strange idea that anything can be done to the earth and all of her other children (the plants, trees and wildlife) and she will just bounce back as usual. Do we really know the sacrifices made at the expense of nature to satisfy our appetite for whatever we want right now?

Spoiler alert: People are pretty adept at shirking responsibility, from non-recyclable and uncontrolled buying habits to endless mountains of trash and plastic on land and in the ocean to unrestrained water and fuel consumption. Developers continue to clear native habitats and wildlife to build homes and roads. No attempt is ever made to restore anything. Is the root of laziness, thoughtlessness, greed, or money? Are we helping deforestation for cheap avocados, palm oil and bananas? Are the generations of animals and plants that have lived in these areas for centuries simply collateral damage that is not worth our time or effort?

Animal species populations worldwide declined by 60% between 1970 and 2014 as habitat was lost and forests were destroyed by avocado, sugar, coffee, banana and palm plantations, as well as industrial meat production and soybean cultivation. Let’s not forget about pollution, erosion and climate refueling. The trade in wild plants and animals for pets, medicines and luxury foods has increased at an alarming rate. Many species at the local level are critically endangered, but few studies have been conducted to document the losses. Elizabeth Albert wrote on Mongabay.com website in February 2021 about the dire signs of species decline in the wildlife trade. Eight billion people crowded the most beautiful, life-giving planet in our solar system and see how we deal with it.

In 1962, Rachael Carson said: “In nature, nothing exists alone.” Birds and insects migrate earlier and change their routes. Plants bloom earlier. Ecosystem cycles are no longer synchronized. Greenland’s ice sheet is melting rapidly; Billions of tons of ice become liquid every year. The ice sheet contains 8% of the world’s fresh water. The mean sea level is rising. Isotope fingerprints identify rising levels of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels, not natural events. Billions of people affect the oceans, land and atmosphere.

Two men from different walks of life were founders of Earth Day. One was largely ignored. Former Wisconsin Senator and Governor Gaylord Nelson has been named Father of Earth Day and is passionate about nature and the environment. Nelson, the son of a nurse and country doctor, graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School at Madison with a law degree, served in the Army for four years during World War II, and later entered politics. He was highly visible, operated from an active political platform and held the first “Environmental Teach-in” on April 22nd, which was planned during the university’s spring break to increase student engagement.

John McConnell’s name has been omitted from most Earth Day articles. McConnell was more reluctant and the underdog. He wanted to promote unity and promote appreciation for the earth. The entrepreneur, newspaper publisher and peace activist first coined the term Earth Day, which was used on March 21, 1970 to coincide with the spring equinox. As the son of a Pentecostal evangelist, his early visions of pacifism and the administration of God’s creation inspired McConnell. At the UNESCO Environment Conference in 1969, McConnell proposed a global Earth Day holiday as an annual reminder that they are environmentally responsible and responsible for conserving the earth’s resources.

McConnell designed the first “earth flag,” our living planet on a dark background that is still flown today. He always carried his Earth Day proclamation with him with 36 signatures, including Buzz Aldrin, John Denver, Buckminster Fuller and Mikhial Gorbachev. McConnell promoted peace, justice, and caring for the earth.

Two visionaries with the goal of bringing people on earth together to preserve the sanctity of their planet. In 1970-1971, Democrats and Republicans teamed up to pass the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The theme for Earth Day 2021 is “Restore our Earth”. The earthday.org group explains: “When the world goes back to normal, we can no longer work as usual.” From April 20-22, three days of climate protection will take place. The global youth climate summit will take place on April 20 with panels, discussions and special messages. On April 21, Education International will host a multilingual virtual summit addressing the role of educators. Earthday.org is hosting a digital live event on Earth Day.

Do you want to restore the earth? It depends on you. Help the pollinators by using innovative mowing patterns and challenge the teachers in Oklahoma to include the climate in the school curriculum, introduce your children to nature, preserve the natural areas in your cities, designate indigenous zones in your garden and put into practice regenerative agriculture with an emphasis on soil health and water management, carry reusable shopping bags, drink your water from reusable bottles, and buy products in glass or paper. Pick up trash wherever you see it. Some need to have the most pristine car interiors as everything else will be thrown out of their car windows. Have plastic gloves ready for unexpected rubbish. It’s everywhere here. Find the aluminum and metal recyclers nearby.

“Sometimes to get out of the world better than you found it, you have to pick up other people’s garbage.” – Bill Nye, the scientist.

Charity begins at home. One cannot take good care of their families if they do not take good care of the earth.

“Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish history and romance as sacred inheritance for your children and your children’s children. Don’t let selfish men or greedy interests slough your country away from its beauty, wealth, or romance. “Theodore Roosevelt – conservationist, naturalist, and 26th President of the United States.

Becky Emerson Carlberg, an Oklahoma State Graduate (Plant Pathology), is a teacher, artist, writer, and certified Oklahoma Master Gardener and Master Naturalist. Contact her at [email protected]