Tag Archive: Earth Day

Earth Day – Before you were born (Redux)

Yet another Facebook convo with a loyal Dem convinced Ralph Nader ruined Al Gore’s White House shot in 2000 made me search out this post from the Blue Jersey archives circa 2010. – Rosi

Years later, I worked with him and told him that story, and he asked me why I didn’t just jump off his toes, knock the old man over and grab the mic? Smart guy.

Ralph Nader 1975I was at the first Earth Day 40 years ago, when I was growing up in Michigan. In April, 1970, when ecology was a graduate of the civil rights movement, as were the anti-war and women’s movement (well, one of them) and early struggles against corporate excess, Ralph Nader came to the campus of Wayne State University where my father was a professor, for Earth Day One.

Nader, a good Princeton graduate, is mentioned in virtually every article about Earth Day history. It’s hard to transmit to people who only really saw Nader as a presidential candidate – and may disparage him for that, though I do not – what sway he had. Man, when Ralph Nader showed up, things got serious fast. He was squeaky clean. Uncorruptable. Scared the bejesus out of corpo culture. Earth Day, Nader got people thinking about corporate decisions and the power we fork over to them. Nader showed us we had the power decades before Howard Dean told us we did.

Two huge centers of activity in the national Earth Day observance; Philadelphia’s student-organized event at Fairmount Park. And Michigan.  

Get Real on Climate Change

Cross-posted at Huffington Post.

Earth Day is upon us and that means attention is focused on cleaner water and air, along with a more recent emphasis on climate change – perhaps this century’s greatest challenge. It’s appalling we are wasting time debating whether or not climate change is real. Instead, we should be talking about solutions.

In March, two reports were issued that make clear – yet again – the problems of climate change are real and getting more severe. First, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the largest scientific organization in the world, declared that the planet is now seeing the impact of climate change and that the consequences could be catastrophic. Most ominous, the association said the window for effective action is swiftly closing.

Then, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations organization that for 15 years has been warning us about the awful costs of a hotter Earth, released its most dire report yet. Melting polar ice caps, extended droughts and massive floods are getting worse – at an increasing rate. What’s more, unless we reduce our fossil fuel dependency, the report concludes we are sure to face climbing temperatures, rising seas, species loss and dwindling agricultural yields for decades, if not centuries. The damage will be particularly severe in coastal communities.

Christie Administration Celebrates Earth Day

You read that right. The Christie administration issued a press release today touting Earth Day. That’s like the Westboro Baptist Church celebrating tolerance.

The press release talks about the “focus on Governor Christie’s commitment to … environmental protections from future storms” without mentioning how that same administration has unilaterally waived nearly all environmental regulations. They talk about how they “administer aggressive environmental and conservation efforts.” If by “aggressive”, they mean “ready or likely to attack” (Google Dictionary), then they are right. The governor was “aggressive” in his attack on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative when he unilaterally took the state out of this job-creating, pollution-reducing plan.

Any espousing of how the Christie administration is eco-friendly is disingenuous at best. But on Earth Day, it’s a downright insult to the citizens’ intelligence.

I’m Sorry Mother Earth

promoted by Rosi

Today is Earth Day.  While I’d like to be able to say “Happy Earth Day” I can’t in good conscience.

I am extremely concerned at the lack of headway to protect our environment and ensure our future generations have access to clean air and water.

In just under 3 months, the new GOP led House of Representatives have undone years of progress taking us in the wrong direction and setting a course for unprecedented misuse, abuse, destruction, and peril.

House Republicans illustrated their disregard for the environment when they canceled a recycling and composting program in the Capitol. The program employed the best practices in sustainability.

After switching from paper to plastic, the GOP passed legislation to weaken the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate green house gases and gut its budget.  These efforts will undermine the agency’s ability to enforce our environmental laws to keep our air and water clean.

The Republican Majority puts corporate profits ahead of protecting American families from toxic chemicals.

The GOP is taking its cues from special interests representing the logging, mining, oil, gas, and nuclear industries and protecting the profits of these corporations instead of protecting our natural resources.

A fracking drill in Wyoming Via the Examiner (Credit: Western Citizen)

Hydraulic fracking is a drilling process used to extract natural gas from shale by injecting large volumes of water laden with hazardous and carcinogenic chemicals.

Every Day…Not Just Earth Day

Earth Day special. Promoted by Rosi

Earth Day is a time for us all to come together and celebrate the great beauty of our planet. This is also a day to remember how fragile our environment is and to think about how we can fight back against growing threats and pollution.

I’ve spent my career fighting to protect New Jersey’s environment – our water, our beaches and our air.  This is not just an issue of importance that I talk about on Earth Day, but rather something near and dear to my heart all year long. That’s why I wanted to take this opportunity to give you an update on some of the actions we are taking to protect our natural resources and treasures.

We all know how important clean beaches are to our shore economy. That’s why I was proud to help pass the Beach Protection Act.  This landmark legislation requires tough new water quality testing and public notification standards so beachgoers can be confident the waters they’re swimming or surfing in are clean.

Nonetheless, we still find far too much pollution on our shores.  Recently, Clean Ocean Action released their Beach Sweeps Report – which presented findings of over 301,500 items washing up over 132 sites statewide.  Over the span of just a few months, they removed almost 4,200 bags of trash and nearly 60,000 pounds of debris from coastal habitats. The most common items found were plastic lids, caps, straws and shopping bags, as well as bottles, metal caps, food wrappers and cigarette filters. Sadly, far too many people seem to be forgetting the days – not too long ago – when our shores were closed due to dangerous and unhealthy debris.

Right now, our beaches and ocean waters are facing a new, potentially greater threat. President Obama recently announced plans to open up certain parts of the East Coast for exploration and drilling for oil and natural gas.  This misguided policy is not simply troubling – it is unacceptable.  So, I’m organizing colleagues, stakeholders, constituents and grassroots activists to write the President and tell him not to put our beaches in jeopardy. I hope you will join us in calling the White House or writing members of Congress.  

Every Day Should Be Earth Day

Today, April 22, marks the annual commemoration of Earth Day. A day to inspire awareness of and appreciation for the environment. One day out of the year to focus on the environment isn’t too much to ask, and it’s a small step in the right direction toward preserving the environment around us every day.

But almost 40 years after this bright idea was launched, it can seem almost beside the point, and some observers have even called for an end to Earth Day:

The biggest problem with Earth Day is that it has become a ritual of sympathy for the idea of environmental sanity. Small steps, we’re told, ignoring the fact that most of the steps most frequently promoted (returning your bottles, bringing your own bag, turning off the water while you brush your teeth) are of such minor impact (compared to our ecological footprints) that they are essentially meaningless without larger, systemic action as well.

I fall somewhere in between these two ideas. I do think there is value in setting aside specific days to raise awareness of important issues, like the environment. I also think when it comes to tackling the world’s problems, something is better than nothing, and every little effort helps. You have to start somewhere.

But, I also recognize that the best, and sometimes only, solutions to man-made environmental problems are more systemic in nature than anything any one of us can do at home. That’s why it’s so good to read about New Jersey towns “going green” – from our first green community, pioneering Highland Park, to the most recent entry, Cherry Hill – and why I find the sustainability movement so compelling.

Sustainability is about altering a community’s way of thinking about the world around it, and making choices that are both environmentally and economically for the community for the long term. In New Jersey, sustainability groups have popped up from Lawrence Township to West Milford to Kinnelon, to join the growing list of green communities.

Maybe this Earth Day will inspire more systemic changes like these groups are advocating, and more and more town to “go green.” That would add up to much more than just a small step.

Monday’s News Now, a roundup and open thread.

Did the state trooper driving Corzine have a particularly long day leading up to the crash?  Was he distracted by an email to his Blackberry at the time of the crash?  And *most importantly, will this time off for recovery allow the Governor a unique position to focus on policy?

The latest on the ugly saga of Wayne Bryant.  Anyone out there wish to see his fellow Democrats in Trenton lean on Bryant to resign?  And now that he’s not running for reelection, what will become of all that campaign cash?

Jim Saxton thinks a deadline for bringing troops home is a mistake and wants to give Bush (yet) more time for the “surge” to play out to its conclusion.  I guess his political masters in the Whitehouse still have ol’ Jimbo by the balls.

Victims of last weeks floods wait for Bush to react.  With Iraq and his beleaguered Attorney General to contend with, one gets the feeling little ol’ New Jersey isn’t very high on his to-do list.  For many in NJ, the hard part of picking up the pieces begins now.

New Jersey celebrated Earth Day over the weekend.  This gal sure is in the spirit.  What are you doing to get greener?  (Here are some central NJ-inspired tips)

If I missed something, let us know.  This is an openthread so fire away.