Archived Opinion

Doing your part on Earth Day 2021

Doing your part on Earth Day 2021

To the Editor:

Since last Earth Day the Atlantic hurricane season saw a record number of storms and the rapid intensification of storms. Dry conditions and record temperatures in the West produced one of the worst fire seasons ever. Sea level rises and entire villages have to relocate. 

So, what can we do as individuals? First, become informed about the reality of climate change and actions to combat it. Second, get involved personally. The websites of these nonprofits fighting to save our planet provide information and means for involvement: Citizens Climate Lobby, League of Conservation Voters,, Sierra Club, National Resources Defense Council, Nature Conservancy, and others.   

Citizens Climate Lobby is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy organization that seeks to build political support for climate action through the work of 594 chapters worldwide. We have a chapter here in Sylva (check it out on Facebook at and consider joining. Our goal is passage of HR 2307: “To create a Carbon Dividend Trust Fund for the American people in order to encourage market-driven innovation of clean energy technology and market efficiencies which will reduce harmful pollution and leave a healthier, more stable, and more prosperous nation for future generations.” The tax on carbon emissions is returned to citizens as a dividend. This bill has 35 co-sponsors in the House but no Republican! The survival of our planet shouldn’t be a political issue! 

In addition to joining a climate advocacy organization there are other specific things we can do as concerned citizens. Plant trees on your land. Do you know that trees remove carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen into the air? Another reason we must protect our forests. Do you know that methane gas traps 28 times more heat than carbon dioxide and that the 1.4 billion cattle and other grazers produce methane. Consider using an alternative to dairy milk like Silk — almond, oat, soy or coconut milk. These products use 80 percent less water to make than dairy milk and are healthy. 

Do you know that 18 billion pounds of plastic ends up in the oceans each year, that some of the marine life we eat ingests it, and we do by eating them? More than 40 percent of the plastic items we use are used just once and less than 10 percent is recycled.We all can practice the 3 Rs — Reuse, Refuse, Recycle. Take your own tote to the grocery store! Ingles plans to eliminate plastic bags. Refuse plastic straws! Recycle all the plastic that you must use! This Earth Day pledge to make every day an earth day by doing something to protect the only home we’ve got:  learn, sign petitions, recycle, call/write/email Sens. Burr and Tillis and Rep. Cawthorn asking them to support HR 2307, join an organization that fights climate change, elect candidates that are pro-environment, plant trees, etc. Together we can win the climate war.

Gene Tunnell, Ph.D


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