Opinion

Ensuring the Earth Beats On

For Earth Day 2019, 18 global newspapers, Haaretz among them, have gathered to showcase local solutions for global problems of waste and pollution

Children collect plastic water bottles among the garbage washed ashore as a result of a storm surge of typhoon Haima at the Manila Bay on October 20, 2016.
NOEL CELIS / AFP

As Earth Day approaches on April 22, alarm bells are ringing more and more loudly. The unbridled technological development of recent decades has generated astronomical quantities of highly polluting and rarely recycled waste, while the extractive industries necessary to produce the goods we use devour natural resources.

The overexploitation of these resources coupled with the excessive use of fossil fuels and chemicals has degraded the air we breathe and the land and water upon which our survival depends.

Human activity is at the center of it all. If the Earth's 4.5 billion years of existence were condensed into 24 hours, humanity would only appear at 23:45, and the industrial revolution at two seconds to midnight, the equivalent of two heartbeats. It’s a fraction of time yet enough to modify the surface of the planet to the point of creating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a seventh continent made of more than 80,000 tons of plastic waste

The latest reports leave no doubt about the impact this activity has had on people and the planet. According to the World Wildlife Fund, 60 percent of vertebrate species populations – fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles – disappeared between 1970 and 2014, while the planet's available fresh water decreased by 83 percent. The World Health Organization estimates that nine out of 10 persons worldwide breathe polluted air, a problem that causes nearly seven million premature deaths every year.

And yet there are women and men around the world undertaking initiatives against waste and pollution. They are initiating zero-waste movements, finding new alternatives to plastics, focusing on reforestation, or developing high and low-tech devices capable of cleaning our oceans, rivers, land and air. Each one is hoping to stem the devastating effects of pollution and help protect life on Earth.

All of us can and must participate in these efforts to make our planet livable in a sustainable way. That is why (name of your media) has joined the Impact Journalism Movement, gathering internationally renowned news media outlets to look beyond the problems and report on local solutions to global issues. From April 15 to 29, 18 newsrooms are working together as part of the editorial project Earth Beats, in partnership with UNESCO, Jour de la Terre, Impact Hub and CDC Biodiversité. Because every beat counts, every story counts, and everything can change from one second to another.

Christian de Boisredon is the founder of Sparknews.