This Saturday, April 22, 2017, marks the 47th annual Earth Day. Earth Day was founded by US Senator Gaylord Nelson, who was concerned that environmental issues were not being addressed. He created the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, as an educational “teach-in,” with celebrations taking place at universities, primary and secondary schools, and communities across the United States. It is thought that over 20 million people participated in events that day. In 1990, Earth Day became a worldwide event, with over 190 countries and 200 million people participating.
Big Companies, Big Environmental Impact
At CPI, taking care of the environment is one of our primary concerns, since we design and manufacture air pollution control equipment that allows companies to meet emissions regulations. By helping companies produce their products with lower levels of emissions, we have an impact on global climate change.
We recognize that it’s not easy to balance air pollution regulations with economic growth. The industrial revolution brought modern conveniences that we all enjoy, but the cost of this convenience has been a rapid increase in the pollution of both air and water. Without regulations, companies would have no economic incentive to spend money on air pollution control, since this additional equipment does not improve their bottom line.
Understanding the Global Effect of Pollution
We all need to think beyond profits and look at the effects of pollution on a global scale. While relocating from a country or region that has strict regulations to one that is more lenient may improve a company’s profits, this simply moves problems down the road. Air pollution flows along air currents, affecting multiple regions regardless of their regulations.
Want an example of how atmospheric events can affect people across great distances? In 2015, forest fires in Saskatchewan, Canada created a layer of smoke and ash which hung 9,000 feet above ground level in Romeoville, Illinois. That’s almost 1,400 miles away!
Ultimately, air pollution regulations need to be thought about on a global level, since pollution on any part of the globe will end up affecting everyone. If you’re curious about how this works, you can view this real-time map that shows how pollution flows across the planet.
So What Can I Do?
This Earth Day, many events are being planned around the world focusing on environmental issues and showing how everyone can take actions to improve the environment. Some groups organize tree plantings and cleanups of parks, rivers, and roadways, and everyone can take individual actions, like recycling, turning off lights, and choosing not to use plastic bags or bottles.
Consider this: when you plant a tree, that tree will absorb about 4.5 kilograms of carbon dioxide each year. Global warming is primarily a problem of too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and your single tree will only affect a miniscule portion of that. But there are 7.5 billion people in the world; imagine what a difference it would make if everyone planted just one tree!
What might seem like small, trivial activities can end up making a huge impact when enough people join in. Here are a few resources with ideas for how you can make a difference:
- 10 Easy Ways to Make a Positive Environmental Impact
- 15 Ways to Make a Positive Environmental Impact
- 7 Easy Ways to Make a Positive Impact on the Environment
It’s also important to stay informed and educate yourself about environmental concerns. Taking the time to do some research can help us all build some understanding of how both our actions and those of companies, countries, and governments around the world can affect the environment of the world as a whole.
When you’re looking for information about air pollution and climate change, I would suggest performing an online search for terms like “understanding climate change,” “earth day events near me,” or “steps I can take to impact the environment.” Just remember that there is a lot of misinformation out there and people who want to push a certain agenda, so always double check the information you find and determine whether your sources are reputable.
Here are a few additional resources to get started:
- Air Pollution: Everything You Need to Know
- A Brief History of Air Pollution
- Air Pollution Kicks into High Gear in Summer Months
- Pictures of smog in Manhattan in 1973