A patch of garbage hundreds of miles long litters the Northern Pacific, entangling ocean life and threatening the ecosystem with its toxicity. Trapped ground-level ozone from our vehicles swirls all around us, blotting out the natural landscape and attacking our lungs. And climate change continues to confront us as a possible threat to our existence....
It has been 40 years since the first Earth Day. Environmental protection has made strides since then, but our planet is still measurably more polluted. Will we continue to pay lip service to the idea that we must protect the Earth, or will we enact more aggressive change and develop habits for truly sustainable living?
Currently, the Obama Administration is focused on reducing energy consumption. "...This year, because of the historic clean energy investments in the Recovery Act, we're poised to make greater strides than ever in building a nationwide clean energy economy," said Vice President Joe Biden in a statement. "This investment in some of the most innovative energy-efficiency projects across the country will not only help homeowners and businesses make cost-cutting retrofit improvements, but also create jobs right here in America."
It's an idea whose time has come, for sure, but legislation will never be the solution alone. Change begins at home, at work, in individual communities and on the set. We can change the attitudes of others by talking about the issues and acting as living examples.
Take, for example, the ubiquitous bottled water our entertainment industry is so fond of. The bottles are most often made of plastic, one of the worst environmental offenders because it doesn't bio-degrade easily. Imagine how much waste we could eliminate simply by re-using existing containers and insisting on tap water whenever possible?
Over the past year, Screen Actors Guild staff members have ramped up internal efforts to "go green." Simple measures such as turning off computers at night, replacing paper cups with ceramic mugs and encouraging more efficient printer usage have resulted in a significant reduction in paper waste and energy use.
The SAG New York Host Committee will present an Earth Day Celebration on Thursday, 1-4 p.m., in the SAG Boardroom of the New York office, 14th floor, 360 Madison Avenue (entrance on 45th Street), New York. The event will include eco-friendly demonstrations, live entertainment and a screening of The Last Crop, a 20 minute short film about the ongoing challenges of sustainable farming. Refreshments will be served and there will be a giveaway item for the first 125 members. Admittance is on a first come, first served basis. You must bring your current SAG card and photo I.D.
What will your resolution be? For some ideas, go to earthday.org.
Happy Earth Day!