The Green Party of the United States EcoAction Committee marks Earth
Day 2006 with its State of the Earth Report.
Posted April 25, 2006
Human life relies entirely on the Earth's complex and resilient
Biosphere and the Ecosystems that sustain it. The oxygen we breathe is replenished by
plants, which also help to create the soil in which we grow our food to feed
our children. Our wastes are cleansed and our water is purified through wetland
ecosystems. Much of the building materials for our homes are derived from the forests we love or from the
rock we stand upon. The air, food, water, and shelter that benefits us as a species; all of these are
supplied by the Earth's ecosystems.
While the Biosphere of the Earth is inherently resilient it not
impervious to harm. The diversity of the Earth's species enables this inherent
resilience and leads to an ever evolving yet subtle equilibrium. Existing niches
are filled and re-filled leading to new and more specialized species which, in
the face of environmental change, respond to produce highly functional and
elegant adaptations. The resiliency of Ecosystems can be measured by the level of species diversity, and thus, are threatened when
ever-expanding resource depletion and environmental degradation exceed the
replenishment capacity of the Biosphere. Human induced environmental changes that
exceed the natural pace of specie adaptation leads to mass extinction, weakened
ecosystems and a reduced Biosphere.
On this Earth Day, the current rate of species extinction has never
before been matched, not even by the great mass extinctions observed in the
fossil record. Those were periods of geologically induced ecological collapse
when the character of life on Earth changed over millions of years, or a
geological-blink of an eye. The boundary of the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event in the geological record shows the
effect of mass extinction, where approximately 50% of all plant and animal species on
the Earth disappeared.
While there maybe multiple hypotheses for the cause of the extinction,
there is no debate on the effect. After mass-extinction events geologist have
noted "gaps" in the fossil record. These gaps are understood to be a time of
measured recovery of the species diversity that is characteristic of robust
That is, the recovery of healthy ecosystems that are
capable of sustaining large creatures, like human beings, took geologic periods of
time to retrieve their lost diversity.
It has only been a few decades since humans first realized that their
actions, deforestation for example, can be directly responsible for causing high
rates of extinction in sentinel species. What we know now, on this Earth
Day, is that just stopping deforestation and adopting better natural resource
management may not be all that is required to halt the high extinction rates
in forest ecosystems. What we know now, this Earth Day, is that we are rapidly changing the whole of Earth's climate: our Biosphere. Forest
ecosystems, even left to themselves and untouched by logging, may disappear in a
generation in response to changing precipitation patterns, stress from invasive
species distributed by humans, and changing temperatures. All of which conspire to overwhelm their capacity to adapt.
Last year we witnessed the huge human toll exacted by large and
violent storms, but what we witnessed will be nothing compared to the human
toll that will accompany a rapidly collapsing Biosphere. We only need to look
to those who live on the edge, such as the Inuit of Russia, Alaska and northern
Canada. The plight of the Inuit, who are losing their ability to hunt, along
with their brothers and sisters in the animal kingdom may seem slight compared to the loss of majestic cities to rising sea levels, but the Inuit's
plight is a clear sentinel warning to us all. The changes leading to ecological
collapse are happening and will cause us to lose what we hold dear.
The greatest threat to bio diversity and human society today is from
Global Warming caused by increased levels of CO2 released from the burning of
fossil fuels. The USA is the largest per-capita emitter of CO2 and as such each
citizen has a primary responsibility, an individual duty, to curb unsustainable and harmful
appetites for energy. We must find ways to improve our lives and our way of life, while using clean and
sustainable forms of energy. We believe that the Green Party of the United States is the sole
political leader in the effort to achieve these goals. The Green Party of the
US has been leading the call to reduce our CO2 emissions, and in the interest
of planetary ecosystems as well as humanity, we implore each citizen and
the Nation to join us.
Theodore Roosevelt said, "The nation behaves well if it treats the
natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation
increased, and not impaired in value."
This Earth Day, we recognize that to help our sisters and brothers of
the Inuit to restore the ecosystem they rely on, and to ensure the survival and
well-being of future generations, we must set aside our wars and our divisions first
to stabilize and then to reduce green house gas concentrations in the atmosphere.
We declare that in order for all future generations of Americans and Inuit to enjoy the Earth as we have,
ecosystems must be preserved and not shattered by our actions. For in reality, all people, past present
and future are Inuit, and all future generations are our children.
As representatives of the people, it is critical for public officials
at all levels of government to initiate actions that will begin to address
the damage done to the atmosphere and develop comprehensive and realistic
plans that can be implemented to construct a renewable infrastructure alternative.
The GPUS EcoAction Committee seeks to promote and advance the existing science and policies to provide leadership in the
new century that takes America away from depleting, non-renewable fossil fuels and towards renewable
and sustainable forms of energy. We encourage the system-wide approach for
national energy retooling.
To these ends, the GPUS EcoAction Committee calls on the government
and people of the United States to aggressively support and implement the
-- We, as individuals must make profound changes in our own
lifestyles, demonstrating to elected officials our own commitment to and
expectation of change in local, regional, national and global environmental
policy; -- We must phase out all subsidies and tax breaks to fossil and nuclear
-- We must move to full cost pricing starting with carbon taxes;
--We must provide incentives, legislation, and institutional reforms
to bring renewable energy technologies on line and readily available to the
-- We must encourage the export and expansion of these technologies
into overseas markets to competitively displace fossil and nuclear power,
and large-scale hydroelectric projects;
--We must research and implement interim, as well as long term
offsets, such as reforestation, accompanied by measurable cutbacks in emissions;
-- We must reject biomass incineration and inefficient biofuels
production as unnecessary, insufficient, polluting, damaging to ecosystems and a
waste of energy;
--We reject the concept of "clean coal";
--We must put an absolute limit on CO2 emissions Nationally and work
to facilitate a Worldwide CAP. This limit should be based on the amount
we need to cut fossil fuel usage in order to aid in reversing the rise in
average global temperatures.
--We must base our cutbacks in fossil fuel usage on this limit; this
means stabilization as quickly as possible and an 80% cutback to be reached
within ten years;
This Earth Day, the GPUS EcoAction Committee calls on all citizens and
all branches of the US government to provide responsible stewardship and
care of the Earth and all people, and we call on the people to demand justice
and accountability from your representatives and from yourselves. We must
act to ensure that future generations are not harmed by our way of life, but
that their lives are enhanced by it.
"The Green Party is no longer the alternative, the Green Party is the imperative" ~ Rosa Clemente