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Opinion: All the buzz over Earth Day

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In 1970, U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day on April 22. His idea was to promote ecology and respect for life on Earth and raise awareness of growing problems with soil, water and air pollution. It sounds innocent enough, but Earth Day is filled with controversy.

Earth Day promoters cannot even agree on what day of the year it occurs. Some broke away from the April 22 recognition to observe Earth Day on the first day of spring, and there is more dissention in the ranks. Some want positive events like planting trees and collecting roadside trash, while others use Earth Day to air demands for the government to stop global warming and reverse environmental destruction.

As observances took hold, a definite controversial anti-business sentiment evolved, resulting in seemingly every organization and business trying to prove their “green” and “Earth friendly” practices. We do not get dizzy because the Earth spins, but the Earth Day “spins” can make us green with nausea.

More controversy: Consider the people who are outright opposed to Earth Day. Just Google “anti-Earth Day” and find those who are very critical of the occasion, or at least critical of what it has become. One claims they are not anti-Earth, just anti-Earth Day.
Another wants undone the work the “psycho crazies have been doing to save the environment.”

Many promoters want an end to burning fossil fuels to generate electricity and heat our homes, claiming it causes greenhouse gases and results in global warming. In order to generate electricity without generating greenhouse gases, we would have to turn from burning fossil fuels to nuclear power.

Whether you are in favor of the April 22 Earth Day, the spring equinox observance, or even anti-Earth Day, consider the enormity of the task upon government and mankind to generate the energy humans need to survive. Perhaps solar and wind energy can help, but we need more power than they can begin to produce.

So, do we say no to burning coal and yes to nuclear? Some say we need both. Others say we should commit totally to clean energy development, but that leaves one important question unanswered: What do we do for energy in the meantime?

Agriculture, for example, is energy intensive. Reducing energy output would quickly result in reducing the food output generated on our farms and ranches, and the demand for that food output is growing rapidly.

It seems the Earth Day controversy is just warming up.

—Denny Banister, assistant director of public affairs, Missouri Farm Bureau[[In-content Ad]]

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