Earth Day 2006 - Good
News for the Environment
By Jeanette Joy Fisher
As Earth Day 2006 approaches, there seems to be good
news on the environmental scene, which should come as
welcome change to anyone concerned about the state of our
Earth. That’s in stark contrast to the first Earth Day,
back in 1970.
Earth Day 2006 sees lakes in New England beginning to
rebound from their sorry condition after being bombarded
by acid rain for decades. The acid rain itself has
decreased, as well, and the sulfur dioxide and nitrogen
oxides that comprise most of our air pollution have
diminished by some 50 percent--due in no small part to the
fact that the burning of leaded gas is virtually a thing
of the past.
Environmentalists have also been encouraged to discover
that a number of endangered species, including America’s
national symbol, the bald eagle, as well as wolves and
grizzly bears, have begun making a promising comeback. All
of that good news is even more significant when you
compare today's environment to the way things were on the
first Earth Day.
In Ohio, the Cuyahoga River was so polluted that it
actually caught fire.
Cuyahoga River today
In New York, all of the residents of a neighborhood
called Love Canal were forced to move away forever when it
was discovered that their homes had been built upon a
toxic chemical waste dump. Pollution in cities was so bad
that residents were told to stay inside because the air
was actually hazardous to breathe during "code red" days.
The interesting thing is that the environmental
improvements took place in spite of increased pressure in
America. For instance, EPA statistics show that the total
emissions of the six major air pollutants dropped by more
than 50 percent, even though America’s population
increased by 40 percent and energy consumption increased
by 47 percent. Automobile hydrocarbon emissions also
decreased during that time, despite the fact that both the
number of vehicles and amount of miles driven more than
All in all, it appears as if America is headed in the
right direction in regard to the environment. It's been a
fierce, hand-to-hand battle, but the country is moving
forward, thanks to dedicated environmentalists and
bureaucrats at all levels of government.
However, even though American rivers don't catch fire
anymore and the smog levels have decreased in most major
cities, there's still a long way to go. Urban sprawl is
still endangering woodlands, prairies, and farmland, and
global warming is still on the rise. Even so, the overall
trend is positive. But we must all work to continue the
momentum set in motion by the first Earth Day in 1970.
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