I was asked to write the following column for a community newsletter:

April 22nd of 2012 will be marked by the celebration of Earth Day. Recognized as International Mother Earth Day by the United Nations since 2009, this celebration of our little blue island in the vastness of space started in 1970 under the guidance of U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson. In an effort to galvanize support for environmental and conservation policies Senator Nelson encouraged grassroots level organization, bringing together communities and their concerns locally; and the support for a global environmental movement grew exponentially. The very first Earth Day in the US on April 22nd of 1970 saw the participation of perhaps hundreds of thousands of students and perhaps millions of Americans in peaceful demonstrations for the support of environmental reform.

Today Earth day is celebrated throughout the world in more than 175 countries, coordinated by the nonprofit organization Earth Day Network, possibly by over a half billion people each year. As environmental research has become more widely available, a growing number of people around the world, from the humblest farmer to the richest entrepreneur, are joining the millions of voices asking for policies that ensure the future of the natural world around us and thus ensure the very survival of our species itself. The quality of our air, the production of crops and the availability of animal food sources are highly dependent on the richness and quality of our environment as a whole. And it seems that the very beauty of our world, which we enjoy in our travels or even at home, is something worth preserving.

While we weigh the costs and benefits of alternative energies, or of environmental protection policies against the immediate needs of every human being, we must ask ourselves what kind of impact our decisions and actions will have not only during our lifetimes but our children’s and the generations that follow them. If we do not consider the consequences of population growth and sustainability, we not only leave future generations on the edge of continual conflict over diminishing resources but the momentum of our actions now may destroy or preserve much of the natural world that we have enjoyed in our own lives. Who among us can say that the forests in which we have walked should be cut down or that the smog of the city is worth breathing? Can we, or our progeny, afford to be ambivalent?

No matter your nationality, religion, philosophy or life stance, there is responsibility that comes with the privileges of intelligence and civilization: if we are to survive and flourish, then we can no longer consider ourselves the masters of this world and its creatures. We are its stewards, its keepers, and should act accordingly for there is no other life on this earth with the power to destroy or preserve its beauty.