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How To Prepare for Earth Month

March 26, 2014

While “Every Day is Earth Day” and with April 22 internationally recognized as Earth Day, it makes sense that the whole month of April be designated as Earth Month.

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Did you know that 1 in 8 deaths or the deaths of about 7 million people a year are linked to air pollution? 

It’s true, according to a report released Tuesday by the World Health Organization and reported in the LA Times. While the article quotes  Michael Kleinman, a professor of toxicology at UC Irvine as saying that “People don’t die of air pollution alone; they die of other things the pollution tends to exacerbate.” This is an environmental issue as well as a social justice issue; most of these deaths are in Asia and other poor and developing countries that rely on fires to cook their food combined with industrial and vehicle pollution sources.

With that in mind, here are a few links to recent articles to get you in the mood for Earth Month–and to get you in the mood to take action!

In The Atlantic, on March 19, 2014, Hanna Rosin writes about “The Overprotected Kid”arguing that “[a] preoccupation with safety has stripped childhood of independence, risk taking, and discovery—without making it safer. A new kind of playground points to a better solution.” Her arguments are in line and yet with more sophistication develop Richard Louv’s arguments about nature deficit-disorder that he makes in his two books, Last Child in the Woods and The Nature Principle. (Be sure to check out the short video above!)

The LA Times had several important articles on water and the impacts of the drought recently (here’s one on the drought, irrigation and agriculture with a video too, here’s one on the drought and endangered desert species also with a video, and here’s one on the Colorado delta)  as well as an opinion article in the today’s paper (March 26) which directly responds to a class discussion on anthropogenic climate change last night. In it, Scott Martelle writes:

Here’s a statistic for you. Out of 10,855 peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals last year that dealt with some aspect of global warming, all but two accepted human behavior as the primary cause. Oddly, that represents a bit of backsliding. The previous year, only one study rejected human factors, according to an annual roundup by geochemist James Lawrence Powell and reported by Salon.

Science is not a theory but a process, a mechanism for distilling truth from observation. As astrophysicist and new “Cosmos” host Neil de Grasse Tyson told Stephen Colbert: “That’s the good thing about science: It’s true whether or not you believe in it. That’s why it works.” And the process of knowledge, according to those in the best seats to observe it, is that global warming is happening, we’re causing it, and we’re at the stage where irreversible changes to the environment are underway.

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-global-warming-neil-de-grasse-tyron-cosmos-england-zadie-smith-20140326,0,3874109.story#ixzz2x6nmZoUw

 
By the way, a recent study from the Pew Research Center found that “for millennials, a bachelor’s degree continues to pay off”…how about a major that benefits the planet and its people?

(Note: My students need to read at least three of these articles for Thursday’s reading response).

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 26, 2014 4:21 pm

    Reblogged this on whisper down the write alley and commented:

    Some readings from the past few days relevant to the environmental and social justice issues we’ve been studying in class to prepare us for Earth Day.

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