Last Wednesday, April 22, was Earth Day, the most widely celebrated secular holiday. (You probably didn't know that, right? I only found that out recently; however, if you think about it, all other secular holidays seem to be nation-specific. We all know that England doesn't celebrate July 4th.)
Well, anyways, for Earth Day, we co-sponsored an event with Lecture Fund, the CFE, the SVP's Office, and the Corp with John Fahey, the CEO of National Geographic. LF and EcoAction had been planning a collaboration for a long time, and this was the perfect opportunity.
First of all, I have to say that I was very pleased that the SVP's Office was actually able to get President DeGioia to attend and give the introductory speech. DeGioia was in seventh grade when the first Earth Day occurred and was an Earth Day leader for his class. I was also very happy to hear DeGioia cite Recyclemania stats and tell us we could do better because WE CAN!
Now, back to the lecture itself..
I'll summarize a few of the most interesting points of the lecture "2009: A New Beginning."
1) CONSUMERISM: Fahey mentioned an anecdote he often uses to talk about this issue. Do you have an electric drill in your house? Most Americans do; however, unless you are a mechanic or a fantastic handy man, you won't be using it for more than a few minutes during your life. Such a good is something that could be shared among people--there is no reason for each person to buy one. We need to think before we buy and make wise choices.
2) PEOPLE & THE ENVIRONMENT: Fahey mentioned the story of this one outdoorsman (I forget his name. If you went and remember it, please post!) who traversed across Africa to experience all the landscapes himself. When you think about corporate exploitation of the environment, you often think of the destruction done to people and the environment, but the pgymies in one village were actually happy to give their land over because it gave them money for luxuries, especially alcohol. This relationship between the Third World and the environment is one that will become increasingly important.
3) POPULATION: I believe the population prediction for 2050 was 9 million, or perhaps more. This is hard to even fathom. Most of the population growth will be occurring in the Third World (esp. Africa) whereas Europe's population will probably shrink. (Germany's and Italy's, if I am not mistaken, have already begun to at slow rates.)
4) MEDIA: National Geographic has launched and plans to launch many interactive options on their website to be able to enable people to gain a better understanding of the environment. Check it out here! http://www.nationalgeographic.com/ They plan to take up different issues each year, and I believe Fahey said that water will be the first one to be addressed. Future wars, according to Fahey and many others, will be fought over access to food and fresh water.
Isn't it interesting to see how an organization for explorers turned into an environmental and educational powerhouse? In a way, it's a similar trajectory to the story of national parks, but that's for another day and another post.