I read today, as the media and environmental groups gear up for this year’s Earth Day, about the damage that the ubiquitous plastic drinking straw is doing to the environment and to wildlife. You probably never thought about it. I didn’t. But it’s just another symptom. There are too many things we aren’t thinking about, and as a result, we are leaving a legacy that generations behind us will pay dearly for.
The article quoted experts and volunteers explaining how pitching in to clean up a beach or a public park raises awareness about the consequences of ignoring the environment. Such self-education then spurs further efforts to learn more and get active.
A café owner, motivated by the anti-straws campaign, has banned them from her establishment. She was moved by a video of a plastic straw being extracted from a sea turtle’s nostril. “Now that we’ve been made aware of it,” she told the Chicago Tribune, “we have to do the right thing.”
Which brings me to the People’s Climate March, which is set for April 29 in a city near you. The big one will be in Washington, but there are sister marches all over the place, in this country and elsewhere. They are probably within reach no matter where you are. There are also busses headed to D.C. from as far away as Wichita, Kan. I’m going to the one in Chicago.
Now I’m not naïve enough to think that even millions of people marching on that day will change Trump and the Republicans’ attitude about climate change. What I think is that it could change you. Because while polling shows 48 percent of Americans “worry a great deal” about climate change, it didn’t even come up in the top 10 of issues that were “very important” to how voters picked their candidates in 2016.
Those numbers have to change and change soon or we will be leaving the generations that come behind us with ever-growing parts of the earth becoming uninhabitable. That’s not the legacy I want to leave for my children and grandchildren. So go march. It might change you. It might even change the planet.