This isn’t my usual WIP today. It’s part recollection and part a paean to our planet. We live here, we need to protect it to protect ourselves. The first Earth Day came during the first quarter of the first year of college for me. Yes, a long time ago–I’m that old. Perhaps the ecology movement that started in 1970 is now a part of the curriculum that millennials and their immediate elders study. Still, it seems clear enough that it’s something that has received scarce media attention for some time. It’s been eclipsed by the related subject of climate change in political discussion and on the news in the traditional media and all rest that didn’t exist nearly 50 years ago. But this year’s celebration, that isn’t any decade anniversary, will likely be the largest since its first–if not the largest ever. You don’t need me to explain why.
We share the environment with all the creatures great and small. The plants, the trees, the rocks and all. We exhale carbon dioxide, the trees and other plants inhale it and give us back the oxygen we require.
There is no more and no less water on our planet than at its creation–absent a few additions or displacements due to meteor strikes or atmospheric leakage of water vapor at the upper reaches. In perhaps a ratio akin to that of homeopathic medicine you could say we’re all drinking dinosaur urine. Odd flavors from water wells in Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas might confirm that, but not too likely. More likely odd flavors might come from fracking for oil shale or mining. The earth filters the contaminants we bury or pour into it–as much as it can.
But we need to be more respectful and considerate of our home. It’s the only one we have. Despoil it and we may share the fate of those dinosaurs. Overuse fossil fuels and we may become fossils ourselves sooner than we think.
We live high atop a hill in New Mexico. We have no air conditioner and no furnace. We do have ceiling fans and baseboard heaters–neither of which see much use. Passive solar south-facing windows add winter warmth. Casement windows on three sides offer wing-like capture of breezes that blow through during the warm summer. We have grid-tied active solar panels that sometimes produce a check from the power company and otherwise reduce the load we impose on the system. Our well uses a solar pump. Our electric fence that keeps the cattle (two weeks of grazing per year) away from the house is solar-powered. Our gate that keeps unwanted sightseeing (or prospective burglars) human visitors away is solar-powered. Our wetlands take care of wastewater. Soon, rainwater harvesting will supplement our well. So we do our part to reduce power generation requirements and we recycle all that we can–close to a 50-50 split with trash. We’d do more if the locality offered more.
I hope you participated in Earth Day some way yesterday and throughout the year in a way appropriate to your circumstances.