Reflecting on Earth Day
Rev. Enno K. Limvere, President of Green Aberdeen
Green Aberdeen began with a vision that our community will become a zero waste/carbon neutral community in 30 years. I admit, this is a big goal, and seemingly too short of a time line, for us to even contemplate that it could be accomplished. On the other hand, scientists tell us that it will be much too late, to wait so long. With the past three summers of fires in the West and hurricanes in the East and now the 2 bomb cyclones that has flooded much of the Midwest, we are far behind in the timeline to save our planet from the effects of human made global climate change. The human race has 10 years to avoid the worst of the effects, but there is no way to avoid totally what is coming for it is already happening. We are coming up on the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day in 1970. We have known since then that we have an impact on the world in which we live. But we haven’t taken it to heart and done the work to change the course the world is on.
The human race can continue to do small things, like recycling certain plastics and turn off the lights when we leave the room, but that will only make a small impact and only do a little good. We do need to change not just our oil and coal-based energy & economic systems, we need to change how we live, how we view the world, and our relationship with it. Honestly, this scares just about everyone. We are very comfortable with our conveniences, with the ease of travel, and the sense of control and security we have right now. No other generation in the history of the world have attained what we have, but we also have this feeling that it could all be taken away. As a good man once told me, “What’s wrong with a rut, I am comfortable there.” Therefore, we fight against the changes, even when we know that it is the right thing to do. We have a lot invested in the status quo, as do our business and political leaders. It’s very difficult to imagine something different, to struggle to make the investments, and to put in the effort knowing there are no guarantees.
That was the bad news, here is the good news. We are very adaptable as a human race. In my last church, one of my members grew up on a farm with a dirt floor in his house. 100 years ago, Aberdeen just got their first storm and sewer system and had few automobiles, but a trollies system. The rate of innovation happening around the world to finding renewable sources of energy, of cleaning up towns, beaches, and bodies of water, and the growing popularity of a lifestyle embracing minimalism is truly amazing. What is going to help us most of all isn’t the new technology but a coming together in a common purpose: to save our planet. We have proven again and again that once a community decides to work on something, once a nation decides to work on something, or once the human race decides to work on something, there is no telling how far we can go and high we can reach. We have overcome so many obstacles in our history, and this is one more.
One fact we should not, cannot, dispute is that the costs of doing nothing will far outpace the costs of saving our world and saving us. The impact on our economy is that the global GDP will lose $1.2 trillion in income each year. This does not include the rising costs by the destruction of more and more hurricanes, fires, and floods; and then costs of the recovery and rebuilding, which is estimated to be over $300 trillion by the end of the century. This is an all hands-on deck situation, Green Aberdeen is not going to solve it, government (local, state, or federal) isn’t going to solve alone, business or families can not going to solve this by themselves. We each have to do our part. This is the greatest challenge the human race faces, probably has ever faced. We need to bring our best, do our best, and believe we can do it.