Enquirer Herald

After Earth Day, don't forget about the planet

Every year we take a day to consider our impact on this planet. We call it Earth Day. It was Wednesday, in case you missed it.

We're glad to see it embraced by more and more individuals and businesses across the nation. NBC has been airing short spots between commercials featuring some of it's stars talking about "going green." We sincerely hope it is not simply a case of corporate green-washing. And we sincerely hope that everyone doesn't forget about the planet as soon as Earth Day is over.

"Wait a minute," you might say, "don't newspapers like the Enquirer-Herald go through tons of paper every year?"

You would be right, and to help offset that we utilize recycled newsprint and recycle much of our paper waste. We strive to be as efficient as possible. We hope everyone else does too.

With the state of our economy, no one should be wasting anything these days anyway.

One positive thing the drought of the last couple years has done is to teach us how to be efficient with our water use. Just because everyone has dropped their water restrictions to level 1, which are all basically voluntary, is no reason to start leaving the faucets running again. The less water we use the lower our utility bills turn out to be, it's a win-win.

Let's not forget so quickly the hard lessons we've learned. We still don't understand why sales of large vehicles spiked when gas prices dropped after hitting more than $4. We doubt the reprieve will last much longer than the recession. Once the world economy revs back up so will the price of a gallon of gas.

Wether or not you accept that humans have played a part in the changing global climate conditions, you cannot ignore that we can have profound effects on our local flora and fauna. From collapsing fisheries, to shrinking seas in Asia and the Middle East, to the great Pacific Garbage Patch -- which is a massive swath of the Pacific Ocean swirling with manmade debris -- to our own region's poor air quality, human activity is responsible.

It finally looks like the federal government is getting serious about environmental issues. The Environmental Protection Agency just recognized carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases as hazards to human health. Now its up to Congress to figure out a way to mitigate those emissions, or the agency will have to step in and regulate them.

We hope our legislators will be able to put aside special interests to do something in the interest of all of us. That is supposedly why we elect them.

Will it be expensive? Probably at first, but we really cannot keep kicking the can down the road waiting for the next generation to figure it out, or pay for it. We've been putting it off for far too long.

And besides, with economies of scale being what they are, the more we move toward sustainable practices, the cheaper they will get.

The editorial opinion of the Enquirer-Herald

is reached by a consensus of a board consisting of Community Publications Director Patricia Larson and Editor Jonathan Allen.