By Anne T. Sulton, Ph.D., J.D.
JA Senior International Correspondent
In 1970, Wisconsin’s Senator Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day. Millions worldwide joined him for the first Earth Day teach-in.
Essentially, the first Earth Day, and all following annually since then, warn that the planet’s peoples must change their behavior to ensure the planet stays healthy.
Since 1970, substantial progress has been made – billions around the globe now understand that global warming and climate change are occurring now.
In 1970, the USA established the Environmental Protection Agency. Its work focuses on clean air, clean water, and clean soil.
In 1992, the United Nations held what is commonly referred to as the first Earth Summit in Brazil. According to the United Nations, “Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and the Statement of principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests were adopted by more than 178 Governments …
The Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was created in December 1992 to ensure effective follow-up of UNCED, to monitor and report on implementation of the agreements at the local, national, regional, and international levels. It was agreed that a five year review of Earth Summit progress would be made in 1997 by the United Nations General Assembly meeting in special session.”
In 1997, the Kyoto Protocol was signed. It focuses on reducing six greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide (CO2); methane (CH4); nitrous oxide (N2O); hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs); perfluorocarbons (PFCs); and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).
In 2015, the Paris Agreement was signed. It is a legally binding global climate agreement signed by most nations and territories on the planet. According to the European Union, “The Paris Agreement sets out a global framework to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C. It also aims to strengthen countries’ ability to deal with the impacts of climate change and support them in their efforts.”
In 2021, Wisconsin’s Senator Ron Johnson reportedly said that climate change is “bulls—”. He is not convinced the world’s leading scientists know what they are talking about. Apparently, during the past half century, he did not attend any of the Earth Day teach-ins.
Although ignorance is bliss for some, too many believing the scientists’ dire predictions are acting like the climate change warnings are “bulls—”. They are not doing enough to protect the planet’s health.
When – by what date certain – will we start acting like climate change is real and is happening now?