Earth Day Science

So little time, so much to do. That's the hitch in designating one symbolic day a year to focus on the myriad ways to offer a mother's day present to Mother Earth.

People do admirable things. They clean up wetlands, parks, beaches, and roadsides. They enlist in conservation groups. They spread environment-preservation knowledge.

At best they are inclusive, welcoming conserving conservatives and conscientious liberals. At worst, they are snobs, wanting to run an exclusive club that looks down on both blue collar and blueblood nature lovers.

Basically, Earth Day ought to be about knowledge and personal obligation to put that knowledge to work year round. The knowledge ought to be scientifically based - proven by careful observation and testing.

For that reason, we're pleased that the governing board of the National Academy of Sciences has disclaimed an attack of global warming data circulated by one of its past presidents.

Scientists devoting careers to the study of climate change don't jump to absolutist conclusions. They continue to collect climate data and debate interpretations of that data. The evidence so far calls for prudent caution in human activities on Earth's surface. Such caution used to be saluted as a virtue called thrift, conservation, or efficiency. Take your pick. Each benefits humans and their planet.

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