The first Earth Day in 1970 symbolized our growing awareness of problems in the relationship of human production to nature on which we depend for survival. The problems are rapidly escalating.
We now know that serious environmental problems are not centuries away, they are an increasing part of our daily lives. From rising food prices coupled with decreasing crop yields and depleted topsoil to collapsing Antarctic ice shelves, from massive droughts to oversubscribed aquifers, from persistent organic pollutants (pops) which affect human reproduction concentrating in our water, land, and air to greenhouse gases concentrating in our atmosphere, from increased extreme weather events to the death of many coral reefs, all humanity is facing a series of linked crises which potentially threaten the quality and existence of human life.
If the air becomes too polluted, we can’t just breathe something else. If the climate crisis becomes too severe, we can’t just air condition the whole world. A healthy humanity requires a healthy environment. Unless we take decisive action, we will bequeath to our children an earth profoundly less hospitable to human existence—and the rest of our lives won’t be a walk in the park either.
The Bush administration has relentlessly pursued a policy of trying to shut up scientists to keep them from speaking the truth. Bush’s budgets have cut funds for scientific research into environmental problems, as if by not knowing the real situation we face, we can wish them away. They do this not only from a misguided approach to science, but from a desire to continue to maximize short-term profits for the obscenely wealthy at the expense of the rest of us.
Our earth, our environment, need a fundamental change in the Presidency and Congress, an end to war and occupation, a rapid shift to renewable sources of energy, a basic redesign of our industrial and agricultural processes and a major rebalancing of humanity’s relationship with all of nature.
This requires a strong majority movement, for humanity and for the environment. Environmental issues are inextricably linked with the elections, with the class struggle, with battles for justice and equality and with the fight for peace.