Earth Day: Celebration and Sparring

Apr 22, 2010 4:57pm

So it's April 22, forty years since the first Earth Day, and the Internet is full of thoughts on how the world has changed. (Take a look at Ki Mae Heussner's piece HERE if you haven't.)
Apollo 8's famous earth-rise picture is widely regarded as a catalyst for the movement that followed. "We came all this way to explore the moon, and the most important thing is that we discovered the Earth," astronaut William Anders famously said.
The Environmental Protection Agency uses the anniversary to hail "40 years of achievement." It says from 1970 to 1990 the Clean Air Act prevented "205,000 premature deaths…672,000 cases of chronic bronchitis…21,000 cases of heart disease."  Water got better too: "In 2008, 92% of the population served by community water systems received water that meets all health-based standards. This is up from 79% 15 years earlier in 1993."  And new cars "are 98 percent cleaner than in 1970 in terms of smog-forming pollutants."  Take a look at their posting HERE.

The Daily Beast, on the other hand, bemoans "Earth Day's midlife crisis." It points out that the issues of 1970, such as polluted air and water, were tangible — but "now, at 40, Earth Day is grappling with less palpable problems, like greenhouse gases that are neither visible nor smellable."

The Competitive Enterprise Institute, an advocacy group for free markets, runs a post saying human beings are being left out by activists: “In the forty years since the first Earth Day, many well-intentioned environmental policies have racked up a shocking butcher’s bill of unintended consequences,” says CEI's Iain Murray in a statement. “From the ban on DDT which led to millions of unnecessary deaths from malaria to ethanol mandates which have increased food prices and led to starvation around the world, the human impact of green policies often go unacknowledged — and unaddressed.”

Today was April 22.  Did you think much of it?

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