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Caring for the Earth

Caring for the Earth

“We have to be aware that we are part of the problem"

April 25, 2016 | Bern, Switzerland. | C. Cozzi, CD-EUDNEWS.

On Friday, April 22, 2016, 175 State Leaders met in New York, at the UN Palace, to sign a treaty that certifies the climate and energy challenges of the future, approved on December 12, at the end of the XXI Conference on Climate Change in Paris.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, at the opening of the ceremony, urged all countries to "move quickly to join the agreement at a national level so that it can become operational as soon as possible."

The French Minister for the Environment, Segolene Royal, said that "never has an international agreement been signed by many countries in one day."  The previous record was achieved only in 1982, when 119 countries signed the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

While this signature marks an important step in terms of political engagement, the earth continues to suffer. Last month was the warmest March ever, after 11 consecutive months of record temperatures, with obvious consequences above all in Africa and in Greenland. A picture that, by itself, explains the urgency of transforming - from around the world – to an intent for action.

It is surprising that this important agreement on climate change was signed on April 22, the birthday of the Earth. But why April 22? The first Earth Day - April 22, 1970 - marked the beginning of the modern environmental movement. Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson is widely credited with suggesting the first Earth Day on April 22. It was a movement whose time had come, and Nelson was not alone in 1970 in suggesting a grassroots demonstration aimed at protecting the environment. The most common practice on this Arbor Day was the planting of trees. 

“As a religious denomination that strongly believes in the creation, we are invited to do our part in order to respect the task given by God to all of us, as stewards of His worldly patrimony,” said Corrado Cozzi, Inter-European Region of Seventh-day Adventists. 

Looking to the political decision can only open a glimmer of hope. The industry, at all latitudes, can do its part in reducing the emission of CO2 by consciously adopting energetic resources for production. Unfortunately, this decision has a minimal impact on us, with the industry apparently so far from adoption of such practices. 

“We have to be aware that we are part of the problem,” continued Cozzi, “because of our continuous demand, despite the alarming information that we waste 30% of food every day.” And not only food. Every year the overshoot of the earth, (the day that marks the date when our annual demand on the planet exceeds what Earth can regenerate), is moved up, giving the signal that we continue in our alarming consumption trend. This year, 2016, it will be on August 8, while in 2015 it was August 13. The first overshoot of the earth was on December 23, 1970. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecological_Debt_Day)

“On August 8, 2016, we will have used as much from nature as our planet can renew in the whole year. We use more ecological resources and services than nature can regenerate through overfishing, over-harvesting forests and emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than forests can sequester. The consequences of this 'overshoot' include shrinking biodiversity, collapsed fisheries, eroded topsoil and climate change.” (http://www.overshootday.org/)

Unfortunately, this warning scenario has a minimal impact on the single human being, who sees his minimum contribution as insignificant, while accusing others of being the cause of the problem. 

What can I do? is a leitmotiv of all of us. But we can do more than we imagine. 

It all starts from our home-station. The list of actions is well-known to all, and includes a drastic reduction of food thrown out every day, an intelligent use of electrical energy, an appropriate attention to the use of water, a drastic reduction of plastic bags, a purchasing strategy that takes into account not the latest novelties, but resistance at the time of purchased goods, etc. In essence, each of us knows how to be more environmental friendly.

“As a Seventh-day Adventist movement, we are engaged in promoting a balanced lifestyle that includes healthy eating, exercise, abstinence from alcohol, tobacco and drugs in general, integrating all into an appropriate spiritual life,” remarks Cozzi, “but this is not enough if it is not inserted into a personal and community-centered program to protect the environment.”

An environment that the Lord has entrusted to us, calling us to work it and to guard it properly. Your drop can make the difference. 

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