It’s way past time to change our world view. We can no longer deny what is happening to the Earth. Because we didn’t listen to the climate warnings our scientist gave us decades ago, we are now suffering through wildfires, droughts, floods, extreme weather, heat waves, biodiversity loss, insect apocalypse, bird decline, sea level rise, acidification of the oceans, species extinction, crop failures, soil fertility depletion, heat island effects, climate refugees, and pandemics.
Our climate, biodiversity and public health crises require shedding the old way of acting as though we have dominance over nature. We need to realize we are part of nature. What we do to nature, we do to ourselves. We are part of the web of life. We live on a planet with finite resources, yet we act as if those resources are unlimited. We think we can plunder and pollute the Earth without consequences.
Every time we cut down a healthy tree, we are closer to the collapse of all life on Earth. In light of that fact, there can be no possible justification for removing trees.
Every time we use pesticides on our lawns or spray for mosquitoes that kill all insects, we are contributing to the collapse of ecosystems that control climate.
Every time we accept pollution of our air, land and water, we are contributing to a public health crisis.
If there is any hope for our children to inherit a livable planet, we must act immediately. We can’t delay any longer. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres released a stark warning on Monday, March 20. We have only 10 years to keep global temperatures at a livable level. We can’t wait for government to take action. Government at the state and federal levels have been ineffective in addressing these crises. When our governments choose industry and corporations over people, we all suffer.
Looking more locally, what’s contributing to climate crisis in our state? The Pennsylvania constitution gives us the right to a livable environment in Article 1, section27:
Article 1 § 27. Natural resources and the public estate.
The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.
(May 18, 1971, P.L.769, J.R.3)
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is charged with protecting the environment and is overseen by the governor. Why is DEP ignoring our constitution and why does the governor allow it?
DEP approved Sunoco’s dangerous pipelines that run through densely populated communities despite public outcry. These pipelines carry fracked gas to be shipped overseas to make plastic. Communities where fracking took place suffered many health problems from contaminated water and air pollution. Fracking also contributed to climate crisis by releasing methane gas during flares. The governor did nothing to stop this atrocity. Once again, it was profit over people.
Recently, DEP allowed the Chester Covanta municipal waste incinerator to continue burning toxic waste and spew this waste into the atmosphere. It’s not just the people of Chester who suffer the health consequences. Pollution doesn’t stay within Chester borders. Why do you think we have frequent air quality alerts? Read more about the pollutants being released from this incinerator that affect your health.
Here’s the good news: University of Pennsylvania researchers found that, when placing about 200 people in randomized groups, a minority committed to changing views could abruptly shift the majority’s opinion when they reached 25 percent of the population. In one trial, a single person accounted for the difference between success and failure.
Will you be that one person? Will you join us in our efforts to stop the destruction of our planet and our health?