Earth Day, Then and Now
Thirty Years ago, 20 million Americans participated in the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970. Fifth Avenue in New York City was closed to automobiles as 100,000 people joined in concerts, lectures, and street theater. More than 2,000 colleges and universities across America paused their anti-war protests to rally instead against pollution and population growth. Even Congress recessed, acknowledging that the environment was now on a political par with motherhood. Since that first Earth Day, the celebrations have only gotten bigger, if somewhat less dramatic: The organizers of Earth Day 2000, to be held April 22, expect 500 million people around the globe to ...view middle of the document...
If it is impossible to predict fully the future, it is nonetheless possible to learn from the past. And the best lesson we can learn from revisiting the discourse surrounding the very first Earth Day is that passionate concern, however sincere, is no substitute for rational analysis.
Future of The Earth
The biological and geological future of the Earth can be extrapolated based upon the estimated effects of several long-term influences. These include the chemistry at the Earth's surface, the rate of cooling of the planet's interior, the gravitational interactions with other objects in the Solar System, and a steady increase in the Sun's luminosity.
In turn, technology may result in the extinction of humanity, leaving the planet to gradually return to a slow evolution pace only resulting from long-term natural processes. As part of the ongoingsupercontinent cycle, plate tectonics will probably result in a supercontinent in 250–350 million years.
During the next four billion years, the luminosity of the Sun will steadily increase, resulting in a rise in the solar radiation reaching the Earth. This will cause a higher rate of weathering of silicate minerals, which will cause a decrease in the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In about 600 million years, the level of CO2 will fall below the level needed to sustain C3 carbon fixation photosynthesis used by trees.
In about 1.1 billion years, the solar luminosity will be 10% higher than at present. This will cause the atmosphere to become a "moist greenhouse", resulting in a runaway evaporation of the oceans. As a likely consequence, plate tectonics will come to an end. Following this event, the planet's magnetic dynamo may come to an end, causing the magnetosphere to decay and leading to an accelerated loss of volatiles from the outer atmosphere. Four billion years from now, the increase in the Earth's surface temperature will cause a runaway greenhouse effect. By that point, most if not all the life on the surface will be extinct. The most probable fate of the planet is absorption by the Sun in about 7.5 billion years, after the star has entered the red giantphase and expanded to cross the planet's current orbit.
Earth Environmental Science, Education for Sustainable Development
What is sustainable development?
The concept of sustainable development emerged as a response to a growing concern about human society’s impact on the natural environment. This definition acknowledges that while development may be necessary to meet human needs and improve the quality of life, it must happen without depleting the capacity of the natural environment to meet present and future needs. The sustainable development movement has grown and campaigned on the basis that sustainability protects both the interests of future generations and the earth’s capacity to regenerate.
There are two commonly used visualisations of how the various aspects of sustainable development interact: one is of three...