Happy Earth Day! As an environmentalist myself I love any opportunity to celebrate the amazing gift we have been given in Creation.
Through our work here at Virginia Interfaith Power & Light, we are supporting the work of the Environmental Protection Agency to issue rules in response to the Clean Air Act, including standards on new sources, fuels, and cars. It’s important that these rules are finalized and enacted, because they lead to cleaner air to breathe, and cleaner air means fewer health-related climate change impacts.
The American Lung Association will release their annual State of the Air report this week, ranking the air quality in cities and counties across the country and highlighting the health impacts of soot and smog. Last year’s report gave ten Virginia cities and counties failing grades for their levels of air pollution. (Find out more at www.stateoftheair.org). Climate change makes smoggy days more likely, so policies to clean up carbon pollution – along with other dangerous pollutants, like ozone and particulate matter – are crucial to protecting human health. On code red days, the most vulnerable people to the impacts of pollution are young children and the elderly. On these days, these people are encouraged to stay indoors, to limit their exposure to the heavily polluted air. In doing so, this means children are not able to play and the elderly are not able to get in exercise. This can lead to cases of obesity and the development of type 2 diabetes, as well as exacerbate potential cases of asthma. In order to encourage a truly healthy society, we need to have clean air so we can enjoy all types of outdoor activities.
Earth Day shouldn’t just be one day out of the year – it should be every day. We should think about the choices we make from what we buy, to combining errands, to supporting policies that create a just and sustainable future for our children and grandchildren. As a Christian, I believe that we have been charged with a responsibility to care for the Earth, as a response to our call to be good stewards. Additionally, I believe that Christ came to redeem the entire world – not just humanity – and that we must be part of the redemption through our interactions with the natural world.
If you are interested in figuring out more about how you can be involved in this important work, please email me at email@example.com.