Friday, June 5, 2009

Become a Lean, Mean [Green] Climate Change-Fighting Machine!

Rising sea levels. Glacier retreat. Arctic shrinkage. Climactic variation. Increased annual temperatures and extreme weather events. Expansion of tropical diseases. Fluctuating precipitation patterns. We have all heard about global warming and its consequences, and yet for most of us, the warnings do little to fundamentally change our behavior. While “going green” has become the 21st century’s latest fad, SUVS with single passengers continue to clutter America’s roads, gas prices remain low (discouraging responsible conservation practices), and recycling systems remain woefully inadequate. Buying clothes from eco-friendly stores and food in biodegradable containers from environmentally-conscious restaurants is a start, but it is not enough.

Today, June 5, is World Environment Day, an annual celebration established by the United Nations in 1972 to raise awareness, stimulate dialogue around environmental issues, and enhance political attention and action. WED is hosted by a different city every year; to show Mexico’s increasing importance in the fight against climate change, this year’s event is being held in Mexico City. As a leading partner in the Billion Trees Campaign, Mexico is at the forefront of Latin America’s progress toward combating global warming.

Because the theme for the 2009 World Environment Day is “Your Planet Needs You—UNite to Combat Climate Change,” do your part to help save the environment! Turn out the lights behind you. Ride a bike to work. Pick up a piece of trash lying in the park. It is time that everyone in the United States did their part to cut back on the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. We can only hope that world leaders feel a similar urgency in Copenhagen in December.