From the Publisher

Our choices matter - add your voice

by Carolyn Chase
am more convinced than ever that the many individual actions we perform in private and professional situations add up to the type of world we live in. Each earth day I am reminded of this in a variety of ways.
I received another bit of enlightenment the other day via fax... "It is estimated that 50,000 windshields are dumped into San Diego County's landfills annually, each consuming half a cubic foot of space." Geez I thought, can't really do much about that can you? Broken windshields are pretty much a lost cause, right? Well, maybe not. For another opportunity to repair and reuse rather than replace and save money in the process. See the ad on page 21 to learn that there really is something that can be done about this, believe it or not. But this just goes to show, that the things we believe to be lost causes, can sometimes be turned around. But only if we do something about it.
EARTH DAY 1995... twenty-five years after the first Earth Day, we should have reason to be pleased. Public environmental awareness is high. Air is cleaner, drinking water is safer, we have some new national parks, the term "sustainable" is beginning to be matched with "development" and the use of ozone-depleting substances is on the decline. So we have reason to be optimistic about the future. Right?
Unfortunately not. The new Congress, brought to power on a wave of anti-government fervor, rightly feels a mandate to reform aspects of government. Problem is, some members feel this mandate extends to the systematic eviscerating of environmental protections. The most radical propose to sell off national parks, allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and eliminate the Endangered Species Act.
What is the justification for these actions? Some legislators claim they were given a popular mandate in November to execute the "Contract With America." However, while the "Contract" may contain many needed reforms in government, it does not even mention the environment and it contains no environmental commandments.
Therefore, there was no vote on the environment in November, and the American people have not given anyone a mandate to dilute environmental legislation. In fact, all national polls show that public support for environmental protection is higher than ever.
So, Earth Day 1995, a day to express and celebrate America's commitment to the environment, gives us an opportunity to come together in a show of participatory democracy. In the tradition of the first Earth Day - people working together at the grass roots - tens or hundreds of thousands, or even millions of us with a common purpose can reaffirm our support for the environment. And, if the "Contract With America" is truly the will of many Americans, what better way to express our participation than by adding an environmental amendment to the "Contract" - an eleventh plank requiring Congress to not only maintain the best of current environmental safeguards, but to expand them in the years ahead.
No matter what your party or politics, we invite you to join with us by taking the Citizen's Earth Day Pledge. There will be Pledge post cards at the EarthFair on April 23rd, or you can do the Pledge on your own. But the important thing is for you to do something.
There is power in numbers, and there are millions - many millions - of Americans who care about the environment. On this anniversary year of Earth Day, let our collective voices be heard loud and clear on behalf of ours and future generations.Thanks to Earth Day Hawaii '95 for drafting this proposal and making it available.
Doing this will make a difference and remember, you won't know what you can do, if you don't do what you can.