Think globally, act locally.
That's the message we should all take to heart now that another Earth Day, created 37 years ago to celebrate the environment and promote ecology and respect for life on Earth, has come and gone.
The sad reality is our planet is in peril from pollutants, the byproducts of a global population that continues to grow exponentially, along with carbon dioxide levels from an ever-increasing amount of fossil-fuel emissions.
The naysayers continue to live in denial, discounting the consensus of scientific experts. They maintain global warming is a liberal hoax, a contrived crisis serving political ends.
If only that were true. The growing body of evidence supporting global warming is incontrovertible.
Given that is the case, what comes next?
What should follow is that we should start to do something concrete to slow - ideally reverse - the amount of carbon dioxide being emitted into the atmosphere causing a greenhouse effect with its attendant catastrophic global warming and climate change.
We hail iniatives by legislators like California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who recently characterized climate change naysayers as "fanatics." Last year, the California legislature passed a groundbreaking law requiring that California reduce its emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases blamed for global warming by 25 percent by 2020. Earlier this year, Schwarzenegger used his executive powers to require a 10 percent reduction in the carbon content of all transportation fuels by 2020. In February, the governor sought to shape national policy on global warming when he and four other Western governors signed a collective strategy to curtail greenhouse gas emissions.
The word appears to be getting out. A recently released Field Poll survey showed eight out of 10 California voters see global warming as a very serious or somewhat serious problem, with 66 percent disapproving of the job the federal government is doing to address climate change.
Additionally, California's long-stalled campaign to force automakers to ship millions of cleaner cars to showrooms starting with 2009 models may accelerate now that the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, has made it clear that greenhouse gases can be regulated like any other air pollutant.
What can we do, as individuals, to help to begin to turn the tide of global warming?
Here are a few practical suggestions: Recycle old computers and electronics; Clean your garage and properly dispose of hazardous materials; Conserve energy, turn off lights, drive less, carpool, use energy-efficient appliances; shop green, buy products that use less packaging or buy in bulk; and educate your children to get involved. After all, they're the ones who are going to inherit the dilemma of global warming and climate change.
The world is in a race against time to save the environment. Whether or not we win that race - and save the planet - is up to us. Every one of us.