Earth Day Lesson: Environment is not Climate

By Thomas P. Sheahen

Earth Day is here again, but few people seem interested any more in global warming. It’s plausible to inquire whether people realize we’ve got a duty to protect the environment. Actually, “protecting the environment” is not necessarily the same topic as “global warming.” Confusion about the two needs to be cleared up.

The earliest written indication that mankind is responsible for taking care of the earth is probably in the Bible, in Genesis 1 (v. 26-28) where God gives mankind dominion over everything else. Thus began the notion of stewardship, that we are responsible for properly using all things on earth.

For thousands of years the prevailing attitude was that the earth was huge and unlimited, so if you messed things up in one place you’d just move on.  Certainly the settlement of the American west displayed that mentality. But later in the 19th century people saw the damage and became conscious of the need to preserve some of nature’s beauty, and National Parks became established.

By the mid-20th  century incidents of major pollution were becoming too frequent, and some tragedies occurred (example: in London England in 1952, thousands died from air fouled by burning soft, high-sulfur coal). A new word, smog, entered the vocabulary as polluted air in cities like Los Angeles burned the eyes. Within 25 miles of a paper mill, it really stunk. Still, “The Environment” didn’t mean enough to motivate changing. “The price of progress” was the standard excuse.

Then in 1968 came the flight around the moon by Apollo 8, which returned the photo of the earth hanging like a bright blue marble against the backdrop of the vast emptiness of space.

Read the rest at the American Thinker.

  • NEILIO

    This brings up good points. We have come a long way from the way it used to be. And that’s good. And I think it is true that there is still room for improvement. But it seems to me that the environmentalists of today act as though there has been no progress at all. Of course the reason for that is simple. They don’t care about the environment quite as much as they claim because their main objective has nothing to do with the environment, it has everything to do with a political agenda. And environmentalism is just a convenient vehicle for that political agenda. With it they can paint the opposition as being for polluting the environment, being against clean water, and air. Their arguments fall flat when looked at from a logical point of view, but they are able to sway many people on an emotional level, and once that hook is set it is very difficult to appeal to them on a logical level.

  • anonymous

    I am currently taking an environmental class and I do not agree that all environmentalists act as though nothing has been done. I do admit that environmentalist can be negative, they still know people are making improvements and there is still room for more.

    Back on the main topic of the article, there is a link between climate change and the environment. the climate influences the environment, and vice versa.

    ~AmudPuddle

A project of Minnesota Majority, hosted and maintained by Minnesotans for Global Warming.