Earth Day Message from The Zoo Executive Director
Posted On: Apr 22nd, 2022
Earth Day has been a significant day for me for many years. It has always been a day where I look at my own impacts on the environment and make an effort to improve. This year, I finally went ahead and bought a real compost bin to help keep organic materials out of our landfills. (Thank you, Vicki and the rest of the sustainability committee, for providing that inspiration!) Each of us has an opportunity to make a positive impact on the environment. Shorten your shower to save water. Drive one mile less each day and combine trips to cut down on fossil fuel use and carbon emissions. Turn up your thermostat when you are not at home. Plant a tree. Turn off the lights when you leave the room. Reduce your plastic use. Some of the changes can be very simple. It is the combined changes of many people that will create a big impact.
What started as an idea by Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970 to empower college students to protest against air and water pollution has turned into a worldwide following. Today, more than one billion people from 193 countries around the globe will celebrate Earth Day as a day of action to change human behavior to improve our collective impact on the world and to continue the voice of those college students to create global, national, and local policy changes helping the environment. Thus, you can see how small changes by that many people could have a big impact.
The impacts of Senator Nelson’s ideas here in our own country were also huge. His efforts led to our nation’s leaders working together to create the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Environmental Education Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act among many other environmental laws and protections. He was one man who inspired many.
The planet seems challenged in many different ways right now. We have indiscriminate wars going on that affect the entire world. Global warming, and the subsequent climate changes, are affecting the globe, from the Arctic to Antarctica. We have islands of plastic in the Pacific Ocean. We have an unprecedented loss of species throughout the world. We are also making headway on the use of solar energy, electric cars, and a fresh generation of young people refusing to settle and taking to the streets to demand a new way forward. It’s our world; we are the ones who have the responsibility for taking care of it. Please do your part to help the environment.
Joel M Hamilton,
Executive Director of the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo