Overcoming Global Inertia: The Solutions to Make Earth Day Every Day

Apr 21st, 2022 | By | Category: Environment/Sustainability

By Suzanne York, Transition Earth.

[Photo by Javier Miranda on Unsplash]

[Photo by Javier Miranda on Unsplash]

The world is in a funk, recovering from Covid-19 and all that changed with the pandemic.  The cost of just about everything is rising and then we throw climate change into the mix – along with other entrenched problems that existed before Covid – and we have a crisis situation. The world now stands at a crossroads.

Given that, this would be a very good time to reassess and change direction. We know business as usual is failing people and Nature.  The path global society has been treading is clearly very unsustainable and the planet is facing the sixth mass extinction. We continue to clear land for agriculture, palm oil and cities and drill for fossil fuels to sustain nearly 8 billion people.

Ecologist Carl Safina laid the state of the planet out in stark terms:

Humans have altered about 70 percent of Earth’s land surface and ocean. Wetlands have lost 85 percent of their natural area; kelp forests have lost 40 percent; seagrass meadows are disappearing at 1 percent per year; the ocean’s large predatory fish are two-thirds gone; coral reefs have lost half their living mass. Agriculture has halved the weight of living vegetation on land, driving a diversity loss of 20 percent; 40 percent of extant plants are currently endangered. Farmed animals and humans now constitute 96 percent of all land vertebrates; only around 5 percent are wild, free-living animals. The world’s wild populations of birds, mammals, fishes, reptiles, and amphibians have declined by an average of nearly 70 percent in just the last 50 years, a breathtaking plummet. More than 700 vertebrate species have gone extinct over the last 500 years, an extinction rate 15 times the natural rate. Around a million species are now threatened with total extinction.

As some planetary citizens recognize Earth Day this April 22nd, the day will sadly pass unnoticed by most people.  Life fo course is busy and challenging, and maybe technology will save us.  Or not.  The clock is winding down on the amount of time we have left to take action to reverse the worst impacts of climate change, perhaps just over a decade before the world passes irreversible tipping points.  The UN is calling this moment the Decade of Action for “accelerating sustainable solutions to all the world’s biggest challenges.”


Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash


The good news is that we have many of the solutions to change direction. These are not stand-alone concepts; everything is connected and the most promising efforts integrate multiple solutions.  Here are just some that can help us cross over to a healthier society and planet:

  • Women’s rights – support reproductive rights, access to family planning services and the right to own land;
  • Girls’ education – invest in educating girls to overcome poverty, inequity, child marriage and much more;
  • Rewilding – restore land to its natural uncultivated state;
  • Responsible consumption – get off plastics, end planned obsolescence of goods, take only what we need;
  • Ecological economics – implement alternative economic systems that end economic disparities and support well-being;
  • Food – end food waste, support alternative methods such as vertical farming, less meat consumption;
  • Traditional ecological knowledge – acknowledge the importance of indigenous and local knowledge of living in balance with the Earth over hundreds or thousands of years;
  • Rights of Nature – reconceptualizes the relationship with nature, where nature has a ‘right’ to thrive and not be exploited.

The above solutions are not rocket science. It’s time to implement real changes that support human rights and protect the environment.  No one knows what is going to happen, but if we stick to business as usual it seems pretty certain that we will come close to destroying the only home we have.

Suzanne York is Director of Transition Earth.

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.