Did you know?
There are more than 7 billion people on Earth, and the Global Footprint Network says if everyone lived like the average American consumer, we’d need 4.6 planets to support us.
Nary a drop to drink
According to a United Nations review, North America’s water quality is “generally extremely good … but shows signs of backsliding in some areas.” These trends stem from “degraded infrastructure and weak governance,” according to the report.
One example is Flint, Mich., which has been without clean water since 2014 and which will wait for full replacement of the pipe system until 2020. The EPA granted $100 million for the repairs.
Healing the ozone
Thanks to efforts to curb certain chemical emissions going back to the 1980s, Earth’s ozone layer is healing. The biggest hole was found in 2006 over Antarctica — it was larger than Russia and Canada combined, and it won’t be fully restored until sometime between 2060 and 2075. While that is good news, recent studies suggest that substitutes for those chemicals are potent contributors to global warming.
Heat of the moment
In 137 years of documenting temperature, 2016 was the hottest on record.
It was also the third year in a row to earn the distinction. According to NASA, it was 1.8 degrees hotter than the average between 1951 and 1980.
The Living Planet Index shows a 58 percent decline in biodiversity since 1970.
Sampling of endangered species in Nevada:
• Mt. Charleston blue butterfly
• Bonytail chub
• Moapa dace
• Pahrump poolfish
• Warm Springs pupfish
• Carson wandering skipper
• Razorback sucker
• White River springfish
• Southwestern willow flycatcher
This Earth Day will be especially charged.
Ever since the Women’s March on Washington and its global spillover during the inauguration of President Donald Trump, there has been buzz about a mass demonstration in support of science, which some see as under attack by certain policies of the Trump administration. On April 22, the March for Science will hit more than 300 cities, from Washington, D.C., and Dublin, Ireland, to Cape Town, South Africa, and Las Vegas.
“Science affects all of us, no matter where you live,” said Tu Anh Tran, one of the local organizers and chief technical officer of the solar-installation provider Sol-Up USA. “Las Vegas needs to add a voice to that.”
About 3,700 people are expected to turn out for the local march, happening from 10 a.m. to noon in the Art Square parking lot downtown. Tran thinks it will be a diverse group of scientists, political leaders, artists and others concerned about the Trump administration’s rejection of climate science and its proposed 31 percent cut in funding for the Environmental Protection Agency, among other stances. The march is nonpartisan, but it is political.
“People who value science have remained silent for far too long in the face of policies that ignore scientific evidence and endanger both human life and the future of our world,” reads the mission statement on the national march’s website.
Among those who will speak at the gathering are biologist Marija Minic and geologist Melissa Giovanni.
Other guests include members of Nevada’s congressional delegation and representatives of youth justice forum the Uplift Foundation.
“We have a really good research community,” Tran said. “We want to highlight what Vegas can bring to scientific advancement.”
Earth Day history
Earth Day started at the height of America’s counterculture on April 22, 1970. Founder Gaylord Nelson, then a Wisconsin senator, was moved to action after witnessing the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill on the California coast. Nelson also was inspired by student anti-war protests, and he channeled that energy into a massive national march that included 20 million Americans. That first event led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, and passage of the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and Endangered Species Act.
10 everyday ways to show Earth some respect
1. Bring reusable bags to the store to cut demand — and hopefully production — of plastic ones already clogging landfills. Many stores give incentives.
2. Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs and turn down your air conditioning to help reduce your utility bills and residential emissions.
3. Bring your own water bottle or coffee mug to work to cut waste. Many coffee shops offer drink discounts for doing so.
4. Skip meat once a week, as the industry produces significant amounts of greenhouse gas.
5. Recycle this magazine (after you read it, of course).
6. Switch to low-flow shower heads and faucets to conserve water, and turn off the flow while washing your hands or brushing your teeth.
7. Run errands in batches to reduce how often your car is on the road.
8. Volunteer or donate to causes that help the environment, such as Las Vegas-based Green Our Planet, a nonprofit organization that helps crowdfund conservation projects.
9. Use e-tickets and online banking, and opt into electronic services wherever possible to mitigate paper waste.
10. Switch to soaps for your body, clothes and dishes that are free of harsh chemicals.