This year on April 22, not only will 1 billion people be involved in Earth Day, but many world leaders including President Barack Obama, will sign the Paris Climate Agreement.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon invited all world leaders to the United Nations to officially sign the Paris Climate Agreement from this past December, according to the Earth Day Network. The agreement’s main objective is to create a global effort to avoid dangerous climate change, limiting global warming to below 2°C.
While global environmental efforts are underway, Olivet Nazarene University Department Chair of Physical Sciences Dr. Max Reams said that local improvements are a necessity as well.
“Locally, we do a terrible job of recycling,” Reams said. “It is strictly voluntary. I see neighbors disdaining the recycling program introduced fairly recently. Why? I suspect most consider it ‘inconvenient.’ Isn’t convenience a subtle manifestation of greed?”
Reams emphasized the importance of individual actions, such as recycling. “If I toss a soda can in the trash and don’t put it in a recycling container, this requires extraction of aluminum from ancient soils (which is a very expensive and energy wasting process). Recycling the can is cheap and saves energy, water and excessive labor,” but it is not the only environmental issue, Reams said.
Reams said all environmental issues stem from the growing global population. With the population increasing, earthly resources become limited, Reams explained, which can make feeding, housing and providing a sustainable lifestyle for everyone a challenge.
“This is a world-wide problem,” he said. “Pollution of air, water and soil are related to population demands placed on these systems. Reams said that overpopulation is not the only contribution to the problem, though – greed is another factor.
“If one thinks about one’s neighbor, as Jesus taught, then personal behavior affects others; this is so, whether we know it or not,” Reams said. “Only when we take a stewardship approach to the Earth (a biblical concept), do we prevent ourselves from assuming the greed philosophy of life. Does one [person] can matter? If 200 million
people think so, it matters a lot. It all starts with one. Didn’t Christianity begin with One?”
—Taylor Provost, News Editor