Understanding the true importance of Earth Day

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The keen eyes of our dear readers must have noticed that the ever-familiar Mawbima logo is missing from the front page of Friday’s (22 April) issue. The removal of the logo was done intentionally to create awareness of the Earth Day which fell on 22 April, and to say out loud that the day our motherland (Mawbima) will become a barren, dessert land with no greenery is nigh as we continue to take the Earth for granted without giving the tender loving care she desperately needs. Although not celebrated in much glamour and grandeur like some other international days, Earth Day too, should be celebrated and given much prominence. Our attempt was to make you aware of Earth Day and shed some light on its importance.

This was a joint initiative by Mawbima, TBWA Sri Lanka and Omnicom Media.

It has been 52 years since it was decided to dedicate a special day for the Earth. The idea first came from the United States and now the whole world is talking about global warming and increasing population. In 1993 the Heritage magazine in the US identified Earth Day as the single most important day of Earth’s democracy.

In the current political arena, ‘patriotism’ is a word that is over-exploited. Our National Anthem which is included in the Constitution talks of a nation that is brimming with enchanting flora and fauna but today, this beauty is subdued courtesy of the political turmoil and people’s protests. It is the responsibility of the authorities to resolve these conflicts as soon as possible, allowing the country to be united and prosperous as it once was.

The need of an Earth Day was first officially brought to light at a UNESCO environment summit in 1969 and since the following year, Member States started observing Earth Day. Over the years the day was embraced by more and more countries including Sri Lanka, but sadly, as of late, our leaders seem to have forgotten about Earth Day altogether. However, those who love Mother Earth can never forget the day and its importance.   

Riches and resources the Earth gives us are many. Not just oil, minerals, gold, gems and crops, but the water we drink as well is enjoyed by us courtesy to the Earth. In return of the endless resources the Earth gives us what do we give in return? garbage, plastic, polythene, and lots of other non-biodegradable waste. Plastic and polythene we release to the environment now will only degrade after two to three generations have passed. Every time we throw away as little as a toffee wrapper we should feel as if we are committing a serious crime.

Waste segregation and garbage recycling were topics we discussed, researched and tried to implement but now, it feels as if we have forgotten about them altogether. During the past two years of pandemic the amount of masks we have allowed to enter the environment alone must be in tens of millions. Not only it is detrimental to the environment it could we have encouraged the spread of the virus as well.

The Earth never hurt us but we are constantly hurting the Earth. We enjoy the clean air we fill our lungs with but continue to release polluted air to the environment. The toxic fumes emitting from our automobiles, food waste, human waste and even the betel many of us spit out are accepted by the Earth without a complaint.

We quench our thirst thanks to the rivers, streams, wells, ponds, and tanks. Trees enrich soil, soil collect water, and water, soil and fauna sustain life on Earth. The life on Earth itself is nothing short of a miracle.

We’ll leave you with this thought-provoking quote by the Native American leader Chief Seattle which can sum up the importance of the Earth to our survival.

“The earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.”