Reflecting on a critical moment for the earth on its special day
Becky Davis is a press officer for policy and campaigns for Oxfam America. She’s based in Washington, DC.
As a child, Earth Day was one school day of the year I always looked forward to. Filled with art and science activities, we came together to celebrate and learn about the ecosystem of our planet Earth and ways to improve it. I remember one year in elementary school, my teacher asked the students what does the environment mean to you?
Most of the student’s answers reflected around feelings of family and home. From a family-run dairy farm business to summer vacation trips with extended family to a US national park, the answers showed just how important the planet is to our well-being and how crucial it is to take care of it.
Tomorrow’s Earth Day is one of the most critical in its history as we are now facing the most dangerous threat in letting families create future outdoor memories and better livelihoods – President Trump’s climate denying White House.
During President Trump’s first 100 days in office, he has consistently shown disregard for climate change, appointing cabinet members who deny climate science and taking action to undue policies and legislations that support climate-science research, environmental protections, and public health.
These actions could have dire consequences for the world – putting our clean air, drinking water, farm lands and national parks all at risk.
We already are seeing and feeling the heat of its effects. As the past three years have been the hottest ever on record, research shows that the record-breaking warming temperatures are wreaking havoc on the environment around the globe.
Climate-related disasters like extreme droughts, dramatic flooding and wildfires are becoming more frequent, posing deadly risks on people’s lives and livelihoods.
Right now, East Africa is experiencing its worst drought in decades, affecting millions of people and pushing areas in Somalia to the brink of famine. In the US, we’ve seen record flooding in the South and Midwest last year, along with heatwaves and forest fires in the Southwest, destroying family’s food sources, homes, and businesses.
While many families everywhere are feeling the changing climate in one way or another, it’s the poor and most vulnerable that suffers the most. Too often they are less equipped to cope with the deadly impacts, putting even more economic strain on low-income families.
I often think about how the earth’s value is too regularly unspoken for. Planet earth belongs to us all and it’s our leader’s job to protect, not steal, the only home we have. And the clock is ticking – we only have a small window to deal with the climate crisis or the impacts will be irreversible.
Leaders cannot ignore the reality of climate change and the huge impacts it’s making. If Americans and millions more around the globe understand and see the threat climate change poses to our communities, why wouldn’t President Trump take these concerns seriously and ensure our home isn’t in jeopardy for generations to come?
That’s why together we need to continue keeping our leaders in check. Our home depends on it.