April 22, 2013 is Earth Day, synonymous with the modern environmental movement. As humans, we may be at the center of our own universe, but how do we relate responsibly to other humans and to the environment we inhabit?
One Fish, Two Fish, All Fish, No Fish
Despite recent positive changes in some of the world’s enormous fisheries, the problems of overfishing and habitat destruction remain very real threats to the survival of global marine resources. But if humankind was given “dominion” over Earth and its bounty, aren’t we just exercising our God-given rights?
Jacques Cousteau: The Voice of a Silent World
Cousteau attended the French Naval Academy hoping to become a pilot. But when a near-fatal accident put an end to his dreams of flying, he began down a path that turned him into a voice for the protection of the oceans.
Our Polluted Planet
The whole planet is being assaulted by human beings and human activity, and environmental pollution is a serious concern. In all of this, reverence for God’s creation and humility in dealing with it are key to our survival.
Gaylord Nelson: Founder of Earth Day
Nelson was instrumental in establishing the first Earth Day which was held on April 22, 1970. One in ten Americans took part in the first Earth Day activities with the result that, according to the New York Times, it ranks among “the largest participation in a political action in the nation’s history.”
What is our relationship to the planet we call home?
Watchdogs of the Sea
Marine biologist Eric Montie studies the brains of marine mammals. In this interview, he discusses some of the challenges inherent in determining not only the presence of chemicals such as DDT in these animals, but also their long-term effect.
Rachel Carson: A Voice That Broke the Silence
The mid-20th-century boom of scientific and technological discoveries created a new society of consumers drunk with the power of instant gratification. The idea that life could become easier prevented many from seeing problems with advances in convenience, particularly any potentially negative effects on the earth or even on future generations. But some did see problems and cautioned restraint; perhaps the first and most notable—at least among Americans—was Rachel Carson.
Green With Compassion
One wonders whether, just as in our families and other relationships, the way we choose to interpret our role in relation to the environment may be all in the ego. After all, the way we treat others has a lot to say about who we are.
End of the Line
Book Reviews: Thank God for Evolution; The Dominant Animal; Hot, Flat and Crowded. Not only are economic, financial and industrial downturns causing international distress, but the prescribed cure—stimulating increased manufacturing (and with it, energy use and consumption)—creates its own set of debilitating consequences for which there may be no bailout.
And Then What?
Vision interviews Paul Ehrlich, whose dire predictions about the effect of a burgeoning world population never came to pass. He may have got the dates wrong, he says, but not the gravity of the problem.
A Change in the Air: Is Humankind Now a Force of Planetary Change?
Skeptics question the ability of human activity to initiate planetary change. They wonder if building cities, removing forests and increasing the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere really matter in the big picture of life on earth.
Although at times we all wonder, “Why am I here?” and “What is the meaning of my life?” these questions of individual purpose arise from a larger crisis of identity. It is not a question of one man’s identity; it is the problem of mankind’s identity. What are we? Why are we here? What does it mean to be human?
Home Sweet Earth
Fifty years have passed since 67 countries participated in the global physical science project known as the International Geophysical Year. But despite the wealth of knowledge gained both during the IGY and since, too many of us may still take the Earth for granted.
Revisiting the State of the Planet
Vision reports on the State of the Planet Conference at Columbia University in New York, March 27-28, 2008. How much changed between the 2008 conference and that held the previous year?
Before and After Earth Day
Astronauts and astronomers are working around the clock to improve our understanding of the earth while seeking the possibility of life beyond our small blue marble.
State of the Planet
Every two years the Earth Institute assembles an international panel of distinguished experts from a variety of disciplines to address the State of the Planet. This report covers the 2006 conference which focused on the question, “Is Sustainable Development Feasible?”
Is God Green?
Environmentalism is the subject of ongoing heated debate all over the globe. But let’s set aside the political and commercial aspects of the discussion in order to ask, Where does God stand on the issue?
Insight: Human Ecology
Ecology has become a term that sets people at odds. It is often used synonymously with environmentalism, which itself has come to be a lightning rod. Surely there is nothing wrong in studying relations with and between living things that are part of the same household. But we should beware when politics or economic agendas invade such study.