Passage of Green: Earth Day is April 22, let’s take action

By Burnie Cook
Columnist

Earth Day is 45 this year! Have you or anyone you know ever heard of it before? According to the Earth Day Network (EDN), “The first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, activated 20 million Americans from all walks of life, and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement.” The network has helped with the passing of the Clean Air Act, Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act and many other important environmental laws.  
It is my mission to spread the news that as Catholics and Christians, we need to take action to not only be green on a temporary basis, but also we need to stay green! God gave us this gift of a planet and how are we taking care of it? 
One way we be environmentally conscious on a daily basis is by driving an electric or hybrid vehicle. I will admit that I currently don’t own one yet, but I am looking into that option for a future vehicle. 
Another environmentally conscious choice is trash and litter and how we manage them. I am very conscious of litter, especially as I walk through parking lots, neighborhood streets, yards, etc. Trash can easily be picked up and thrown in the nearest garbage can or recycling bin. This simple act can help keep birds, squirrels and other animals from consuming our waste.
The Earth Day Network has various programs and projects we can consider being a part of too. From the Canopy Project to A Billion Acts of Green, there are a variety of ways to take action. The Canopy Project “made a commitment to the Global Poverty Project to plant 10 million trees over the next five years in the world’s most vulnerable communities. Over 450,000 trees are now being planted Ethiopia, Kenya, Cameroon, Haiti and in the Boreal Forests of Russia and Norway,” according the EDN website. A Billion Acts of Green seeks commitments by individuals, organizations, businesses and governments to protect the planet. Go to www.earthday.org/takeaction/campaigns.html to pledge an action.
On the third Sunday of Ordinary Time (the weekend of Jan. 24-25) we were reminded in the second reading (1 Cor 7:31) that “for the world in its present form is passing away.” We must do our best to protect our earth from “passing away.” Tri Robinson’s book, “Saving God’s Green Earth,” reminds us in “environmental stewardship must look at God’s creation as a blessing –– something sacred.” He goes on to say, “Whenever we are in the splendor of God’s creation, we stand in awe … at the beauty in the sunset or the creativity in a mountain range or the pure serenity surrounding a pond hidden away in the woods. It’s in these moments that we realize how sacred these places are.”
As we enter into the Easter season and celebrate Earth Day on April 22, let us take action to protect our environment. 
After Jesus rose from the dead in Mark’s Gospel, he sends out his apostles to “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents with their hands … They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover” (Mk 16: 15-18). 
Let us take Jesus’ words as a call to action –– let’s spread the word on the importance of protecting our environment. Let us all do something we haven’t done before, for the sake of the planet, on April 22 and on every day thereafter.
The EDN works “with over 22,000 partners in 192 countries to broaden, diversify and mobilize the environmental movement [and] more than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.” For more information on Earth Day and the EDN, visit www.earthday.org.