Earth Day still a necessity

Why in the world are we still holding an Earth Day? Haven’t we learned anything since the first Earth Day was held in 1970?

We’re holding another Earth Day this year, on Tuesday, April 22, of course, and there are many local projects in which you can become involved. Some are mentioned in today’s Cabinet, so check it out.

Here’s an interesting one, though:

As part of its 100th anniversary celebration, the New Hampshire Audubon is hosting an Earth Day Festival at the Massabesic Audubon Center in Auburn. This family event will feature an indoor/outdoor scavenger hunt, a bird banding demonstration, games and recycled crafts and live music and dance. ­For more information, visit nofanh.org/nofa­event/
nh­audubon­earth­day­festival/#sthash.kaEtamwP.dpuf
.

But it’s been 44 years since the first Earth Day and the Earth is still a mess. Isn’t that disconcerting?

There have been some successes ­­– Boston Harbor, the Hudson River (thanks to Pete Seeger more than anyone), but the Earth is still in big trouble.

One of the culprits is plastic, aided and abetted by the human race. We love our plastic, especially our plastic grocery bags, and we seem to enjoy throwing them away wherever seems convenient, like the side of the road.

And a great deal of plastic seems to be ending up in the ocean, which is bad for fish and that’s bad for us because, guess what? We eat fish and if plastic kills off too many of them, we’ll just have to hope that aquaculture takes over where the ocean left off.

New Hampshire is not in the forefront in the fight against plastic, but 16 states have either passed some legislation or are considering it.

Recently, Provincetown, Mass., moved at its Town Meeting to ban plastic grocery bags, but the warrant article was tabled because there was some concern about exactly what might still be allowed. There is still hope, however.

And New York City is considering charging supermarket customers 10 cents for each plastic bag they take, the money to be used by the retailer to purchase more paper and reusable bags. So if you get 10 bags of groceries, all in plastic bags, you’d pay the cashier an extra dollar. That might discourage some use of plastic, but will it be enough?

In the search for the Malaysian airliner in the Pacific, search crews have been finding tons and tons of garbage. After 44 years of Earth Days, we’re still finding tons and tons of garbage, much of it plastic, in our oceans. What’s wrong with us?

For decades, the U.S. Navy had sailors throwing garbage over the fantails of ships, figuring, we guess, that the ocean could just handle it all. We have no idea if that is still the Navy’s policy, but we certainly hope not.

And all around this region, we see garbage in our streets. In Lyndeborough, for instance, some caring, Earth-­conscious (not) individual delights in throwing his chewing tobacco cans onto the roadside. What a guy.

Clearly, Earth Day is still a necessity.