Jack Brezina: No Planet B

I often despair when I hear the news about what is happening, environmentally, to our planet. I see reports of the increasing pace of climate change, the degradation of our soil and seas and the seeming indifference of those we select to lead us out of this mess. From outright denials that man’s rapacious capacity to consume is at the heart of the changes taking place around the world, to the feeble attempts to alter the dangerous path we are on, I hold out little hope we will pull back from the brink of self destruction.

I shudder when I hear of fish, whales and sea birds dying of malnutrition because they have ingested the plastic garbage thrown in the sea. The illegal slaughter of wild animals to fill the need for a trophy or to sell the ivory appalls me. The ignoring of repeated scientific studies ringing ever louder alarm bells makes me wonder where our political leaders are taking us. The examples of man’s disregard for the one and only place we can call home (I love the slogan, ‘there is no Planet B’) makes me wonder how long we can continue to foul our own nest and expect a better day tomorrow, if not for ourselves, then for our children and grandchildren.

My spirits are occasionally lifted when I see students on the march around the world, protesting inactivity on climate change. They have read the reports, know what their future holds and want action now to stop the degradation of the planet. When I read of local high school student, Jürgen Shantz, who is spearheading a local protest movement to draw attention to the changes coming our way, I think that there is some sanity out there and there are people who care. Shantz has my wholehearted endorsement. I hope he won’t let the naysayers dampen his passion for preservation. No one should have to, but it seems it is now necessary to fight for the future, for a safe and livable planet.

I am also buoyed by small, but significant steps being taken locally to reduce plastic pollution. Municipalities are making a real effort to reduce the amount of plastic used within their jurisdictions, encouraging people to choose reusable water bottles to refuse plastics everywhere … do we really need a coconut, with one of the hardest shells in the plant world, to be swaddled in plastic wrap?

I see businesses stepping up, eliminating plastic straws … there was a time that paper or cardboard straws were all that was offered and they got the job done.

Sometimes I think it is almost overwhelming to imagine what we here in this small corner of the world could do to save the planet. But then I hear people are organizing, taking small steps, pushing for big reforms. It is time those with the ability to institute change know that the status quo is no longer acceptable, that we need to choose a path today that will lead to a better world tomorrow.

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