Scientists have been warning us about an impending global doom that must be resolved immediately but the public ignores and ridicules them. It won’t be until scientists’ predictions come true that people take them seriously. However, it will be too late then.
That is exactly what’s going on with the current environmental crisis.
Last week, hundreds of scientists released a warning of imminent extinction risk to whales, dolphins and porpoises. The open letter, signed by more than 350 environmental experts from more than 40 countries, calls for immediate action on behalf of world governments in order to save them.
Sounds frightening, right? Yet this isn’t the first time we’ve been warned.
The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970. It was created in response to the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, in which more than 3 million gallons of oil killed more than 10,000 sea creatures. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this caused 20 million Americans to engage in peaceful demonstrations for environmental reform.
It’s a beautiful concept—a day in which people from all across the world celebrate the one thing we all have in common, Mother Earth.
But here we are 50 years later, still suffering from the same issues. Reports of rising sea levels due to climate change, predictions of the massive migrations that will follow, and an already-occurring global water crisis have still heeded no real action.
The United States even seems to be going backward. On Nov. 4, we will have formally withdrawn from the Paris Agreement, a global framework to reduce heat-trapping pollution and consequently the climate crisis. We’ll join Iran and Turkey as the three major countries not taking part in the international agreement.
The science is here and is real, but we are choosing to ignore it. How many of us continue to consume meat knowing the horrors of factory farming? How many choose to buy fast fashion knowing that it pollutes oceans and releases high carbon emissions?
We throw our trash on the ground and continuously hoard our plastic Publix bags, even though we know they take up to 1,000 years to fully decompose. We vote for politicians who deny facts and consistently choose the economy over the environment.
“Only when the last tree has been cut down, the last fish been caught, and the last stream been poisoned, will we realize we cannot eat money,” said an old Native American proverb that fits perfectly into our current situation.
The Earth is suffering. Wildlife and those who live in more remote parts of the world are too. We are stepping on the point of no return and if we don’t act now, future generations will pay for it.