Editorial: On Earth’s day, resolve to help make it better

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 21, 2001

Today is Earth Day, and it carries a little extra significance this year.

Saturday, April 21, 2001

Today is Earth Day, and it carries a little extra significance this year. With high gasoline prices attacking checkbooks like pit bulls, and even talk of an electricity shortage, America’s energy consumption habits have again been called into question.

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Consider some statistics from Earth Day Network, the non-profit group that sponsors Earth Day worldwide:

n Though accounting for only 5 percent of the world’s population, Americans consume 26 percent of the world’s energy.

n In 1997, U.S. residents consumed an average of 12,133 kilowatt-hours of electricity each, almost nine times greater than the average for the rest of the world.

n Americans use a billion gallons of motor oil a year, 350 million gallons of which end up polluting the environment.

n On average,16 million tons of carbon dioxide are emitted into the atmosphere every 24 hours by human use worldwide. Carbon dioxide contributes to global warming.

If no other day of the year is, today is the day to think about these sorts of things. Just as people make New Year’s resolutions to adjust their personal habits, today is a chance for everyone to adopt an Earth Day resolution – maybe resolving to drive less, to run the air conditioner less, or to reuse and recycle more. Spend a half hour finding out how to get your name off a junk-mail list, or support a company that gives to environmental causes.

Here’s an easy one: We in Freeborn County are fortunate to have an excellent recycling program. Everything from the usual cans and bottles, all the way to magazines, 12-pack boxes and bill envelopes can be recycled; it’s easy to end up with more recycling every week than trash.

Threats to our environment and our future are real. It will take the efforts of many to reduce pollution and waste, but is there any more worthwhile cause?