I didn't realize that today is Earth Day until I opened the Google search page and saw the graphic:
I recently posted about the expected effects of climate change here in the Northeastern US. I watched a Nova segment this week called Dimming the Sun. You can read a synopsis of this program here. Essentially, global dimming is a backhanded effect of pollution. Smog (including vapor trails from air traffic) creates a mirror effect, causing the earth to reflect sunlight back into space. This has actually slowed the impact of global warming.
Because smog contributes greatly to diseases of the lungs, governments worldwide have been taking steps to reduce it, and they are having a good deal of success. Smog reduction could lead to the acceleration of global warming. Some scientists say that we are close to a point of no return. We could reach that point within 5 - 10 years, with significant changes to coastlines, living conditions, and food supplies by mid-century. This theory is relatively new and, of course, controversial. The Nova program about how scientists developed the theory is compelling, however, and the information in it should be given consideration.
The US government has been denying the significance of climate change since the advent of the Bush Administration, beginning with the failure to participate in the Kyoto Protocol. The government's Earth Day website celebrates our purported successes and tries to paint the administration in a positive light. This is laughable, and it is an embarrassment to our nation.
The earthday.net website I linked to at the beginning of this post provides information about things we can do right now to make a difference, without waiting for the government to act. It is clear that US citizens will have to take steps to stabilize the environment without the government's assistance or leadership. We can't afford to wait until Bush leaves office to act. It might be too late.