Born on April 22nd 1970 in this country’s Midwest, Earth Day celebrates its 45th anniversary today with activities and participants around the world talking environmental policy and organizing group clean-ups involving over a billion people annually.
On April 23 most people will return to their workaday lives and environmentally minded folks across every nation will snap back into ravenous consumerism with reckless abandon and little regard for waste or sustainability.
But those issues that inspired the creation and celebration of Earth Day remain.
They remain looming like an enormous hooded specter ready to slash through at-risk habitat and threaten every unsuspecting living creature no matter where they hide.
Even those who know better, those and who should be alert to the dangers are blind to the pressures mankind is putting on our irreplaceable resources. These pressures left unimpeded will surely collapse ecosystems where the ripple effect can devastate entire populations of flora and fauna worldwide.
Sounds like the storyline for a horror movie right? Well this is worse because the nightmare is real and we wake up to it everyday.
But here is the worst part. Our most precious resource is water and it is being consumed and polluted at an alarming rate.
In the drought stricken state of California water delivery has been reduced by 15% in some areas and that is not all. For the first time ever the Governor of California has issued an executive order for cities around the state to reduce their water consumption by 25% or face monetary penalties.
But money is the last thing we have to worry about losing if we continue to abuse our water supply. States and cities around the country are headed directly down the same track as California if they don’t take action now. Montana and Maryland have immediate concerns regarding their freshwater reserves and in some states like Colorado, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma and Florida the water supply is further imperiled by suspect regulations in the fracking industry which have proven time and again to be a constant threat to water safety.
These concerns are just the ones we have in this the richest country on the planet. What of all those places worldwide where water is a luxury? The UN reports that one fifth of the world’s population lives in areas where water is in short supply and an additional one fourth of people do not have access because their regions infrastructure cannot distribute or dispense it.
The crisis is upon us today on Earth Day, but most of us need to remember this critical situation dogs us everyday.
We are at a crossroad today. We have been given a very powerful resource in water. It can give life and it can take it away. We have also been given a grave responsibility by our Creator to protect, preserve and defend this resource. Even if you don’t believe in a higher power surely you feel some responsibility for your children, your neighbors children, your nieces, nephews and grandchildren’s futures. The future of humanity itself. Yes, it’s that serious.
Let Earth Day 2015 awaken the realization within you that water is sacred and we need to treat it as such because without it nothing can survive.
Lew Hastings is the founder and executive director of the Native Now Foundation.