There is great hope and enthusiasm among the youth celebrating Earth Day on 22nd April for the restoration of the earth, writes Fr Shay Cullen
They see the environmental destruction in all aspects of our lives – the air we breathe, the destruction of forests, the polluted oceans, the climate change that is upon us and the pandemic – all a result of human neglect, greed and power play for riches and dominance of the Earth.
This young generation wants this to change and are doing much to bring it about by advocating political change to the Green Platform for a healthy planet.
They are planning thousands of action events around the globe to demand that we change our lifestyles, habits, ways of living and working. They are dedicated to change the destructive industry, corrupt political systems and bad environmental conditions due to the changing climate that is harming them and the Earth.
We all must work to change our lives and restore our Earth because everyone should have an equal opportunity to survive and have healthy life of dignity and equality. Those greater ideals are far away but we can restore the Earth in small ways in the place where we live. Like recycling plastic and waste products, never waste food, plant organic vegetables and plant trees.
The most vital and important need is to have a healthy, clean, pollution-free, smog-free atmospheres and clean air to breath. The air we breathe affects our lives, our blood, our brains and body and our ability for clear thinking. It is one of the most important environmental goals we must reach. Our health and that of the world’s children depend on it.
We humans are very unintelligent since we are poisoning ourselves. We are allowing national and multi-national industry to make billions of profits by producing electricity from dirty dangerous oil and coal-fired power plants.
The politicians and mighty moguls of industry tell us it is for our own good if we want our electric fans, air conditioners, heaters, lights and factories to run. How dull can we be, we with the big brains, if we allow this when there are clear sustainable alternatives? The youth that are rallying this Earth Day know it and demand change.
The politicians are generally corrupt and in cahoots and enjoy conspiracies with the tough tycoons of big business run by the oligarchs of industry. We have to have political action and vote for politicians with green environmental credentials. To restore the Earth is not just cleaning up the plastic waste and planting more trees, all great and important, but we have to change the politicians and they will change the source of producing electricity on which the world runs.
This basic intelligent thinking, planning and positive action is all possible and it is part of the new wave sweeping the globe with the young generation. It means we and the tycoons have to confess environmental sins, individually, nationally and globally and repent and do penance by changing our bad environmental habits.
We can and must change to good clean ways of living so as to undo the damage caused by the past generations and the present one. We must change and replace the destructive energy-producing ways to restore the Earth. The people must demand the politicians and industry to convert more quickly to renewable sources of energy and phase out fossil fuels, oil, gas, coal and nuclear plants.
We need to join the youth today in demanding these changes by their marches, activities and protests and positive actions this Earth Day, now on its 51st anniversary. The building of more wind turbines, solar panels, geothermal plants, wave and tide power and environmentally-safe hydropower is the goal.
Converting to electric-run vehicles sourced from renewable energy production is the way of the future. However, less flying, more walking and cycling and using trains are the best ways to travel to restore the earth. The burning of oil and coal is the most dangerous of all.
They produce the most CO2 in the atmosphere, producing greenhouse gases causing climate change because of global warming and they are polluting the air we breathe. The Covid-19 pandemic stopped travel and restored a clean environment to many cities especially in China.
The coal industry is the worst of all for damaging the Earth. According to a report in N. Sönnichsen, 2 February 2021, “China has the highest installed capacity of coal power plants in the world. . . with a capacity of 1,042.9 gigawatts……the United States, which ranked second. China’s carbon dioxide emissions from coal combustion reached 7.2 billion metric tons in 2019 – roughly 70 percent of the country’s total emissions.
For a great nation to be truly great, admired, respected and emulated, China with its success in greatly alleviating poverty in fifty years and massive construction and production capacity of consumer products, has to have moral values and respect for human rights and respect for the Earth and quickly phase out their oppressive cruel polices of island-grabbing, human rights abuses and their coal plants. Then, China will lead the world.
The most devastating result of a poisoned atmosphere from air pollution is felt everyday with the millions suffering breathing problems and with these underlying weakness, millions are dying, even hundreds of babies in Brazil, from Covid-19.
Make no mistake about it. This pandemic is upon us like a dark cloud because of our lack of care of the natural world and protection of the earth’s wildlife and habitat of animals and birds.
The unleashing of the various vicious viruses in recent years transferring from exotic and rare birds and animals when eaten, like bats or Pangolin has brought devastation and suffering and death to so many.
The positive planned action of youth worldwide on Earth Day to restore the Earth is inspiring. It begins with a global youth climate summit led by Earth Uprising, in collaboration with My Future, My Voice, OneMillionOfUs and hundreds of youth climate activists. We admire them. They are the hope for a clean, restored Earth.