What Earth Day means to UGE

One of the first anti-pollution laws ever enacted was in 1272 in England, when Edward I, at the urging of several wealthy and powerful petitioners whose noses and lungs were over-tickled by the smog, banned the burning of coal on the penalty of death. The law was largely ineffective (the threat of the death penalty was for the most part not carried out) and arose because of sensitive aristocratic dispositions, but its interesting to think about how far we've come in terms of environmental legislation and how far we have yet to go. Perhaps one of the reasons that legislative progress is so slow is because politicians and governments are largely unmoved until they know that the voting majority support environmental causes.

This Monday, April 22 will be the 43rd annual Earth Day, and a good day to reflect on what it means to be environmentally conscious and what changes still need to be made to ensure our future. Whether or not you believe that Climate Change is a real, anthropogenic phenomenon most can agree that precaution when it comes to our resources seems a no-brainer: running out of fossil fuels in the future without a contingency seems risky for the human race given our dependency, as does running out of fresh water, or for that matter natural gas or timber or tantalum or any other finite resource.

So this Earth Day I urge you to think about your resource usage and be active and vocal about your commitment to preservation of natural resources and the environment. A groundswell of popular support for environmental initiatives is one of the ways that we can try to ensure that change is effected. Last year over 1 billion people in 192 countries participated in Earth Day. This year more people than ever are expected to participate in order to express their hopes for a sustainable future. Have a look at the Earth Day website to see what you can do to be involved: http://act.earthday.org/ and contact your local government representative to express your support for environmental initiatives and legislation. 

-Jo Walton-Hespe, HR & Sustainability