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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Earth Day All Over

Air Date: Week of

From Mexico to Malawi, global voices describe the state of their patch of Earth, and their hopes for Earth Day in another 40 years.


CURWOOD: The observance of Earth Day has spread worldwide in its 40 years, along with environmental concerns and action. We asked people from all over the planet to send us audio snapshots of their corner of the globe—and tell us what they hoped to see in another 40 years.

FLESSEL: Hello, my name is Fabienne Flessel. I'm from Guadalope, French West Indies in the Caribbean. Living in Guadalope could be some sort of dream for some people, it is definitely bliss but we have one major crisis in Guadalope, which is due to a product called Kepone, which was used to protect banana plantations from insects, and it got into the water. So there is a higher rate of cancer and they correspond to the places where Kepone was used.

KAONGA: Hi, my name’s Victor Kaonga; I’m based in Malawi’s capital city, Lilongwe. I enjoy seeing green stuff. I enjoy the fresh air that comes with the trees, and I’m very concerned about the country—Malawi’s losing tree cover.

There are so many people involved in cutting down trees. They turn them into charcoal, of course, people in towns by a lot of charcoal because of the infrequent supply of the electricity. So we don’t seem to have a choice.

MARIAM: My name is Mariam and I’m from Iran. I live in Tehran, the capital; many people suffer because of extreme air pollution in this city. There is also the problem of waste. And I work in the field of waste management; I know that the mixed disposal of hazardous waste, along with municipal waste, is an issue of concern in Tehran.

CASTILLO: Hi, I’m Alejandro Castillo from Puerto Peñasco, Sonora that’s in Mexico, just next to the Gulf of California, it’s an area where the ocean and the desert meet and several wildlife and plant species have adapted such as the most endangered marine mammal in the world, the vaquita marina or gulf porpoise. And the biggest problems this region is facing have to do with unsustainable fisheries and tourism development.

[MUSIC: Pat Metheny “Goin Ahead” from Works (ECM Records 1984)]

FLESSEL: What can Earth Day be in 40 years from now? I don’t know it’s just a dream, but I really hope that we could have a look back on the early years of 2000 saying we worked hard enough, we got aware enough of the situation and heard they wouldn’t been necessary anymore.

MARIAM: In 40 years I hope to see the earth free of any kind of pollution and I want to see that all people have access to potable water. I hope the problem of global warming will be solved by complete collaboration of all nations.

CASTILLO: I’d love to be celebrating Earth Day in 2050 eating so much different seafood from the Gulf of California—clams, shrimp, blue crap, gulf grouper, and even the currently endangered totoaba.

If 40 years from now were lucky enough to be able to harvest this species locally it will mean that we have been successful and we’ve learned how to use our resources right. That would definitely be an ideal and delicious Earth Day.

[MUSIC: Nguyen Le’ “Eventail” from Walking On The Tiger’s Tail (ACT Music 2005)]

CURWOOD: Voices from Mexico, Iran, Malawi, and Guadalope, on Earth Day 40 years from now.



For more on the northern Gulf of California’s unique desert-marine ecosystems, click here.

Fabienne writes about life in Guadaloupe on Global Voices Online.

Click here to follow Victor’s posts and podcasts from Malawi.

Learn more about environmental news in Iran here.


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