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"If future generations are to remember us more with gratitude than sorrow, we must achieve more than just the miracles of technology. We must also leave them a glimpse of the world as it was created, not just as it looked when we got through with it." — Lyndon B. Johnson

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You might have shrugged your shoulders at news of the recent United Nations report that predicts unprecedented decline in global biodiversity.

More than a million species of plants and animals are destined for extinction, given current rates of climate change, pollution and deforestation, according to the report.

Many of the species could be eradicated within just the next few decades, the UN report said.

But we just yawn and turn our attention back to the minutia of our daily lives. It's understandable, in a sense.

We're inundated with a constant flow of projections of impending environmental doom. And then there's the political perspective that wants to deny global warming, man's role in accelerating it and the looming catastrophic impact — despite overwhelming scientific evidence.

But if you really care about future generations, you should, as Lyndon Johnson suggested decades ago, shake off the numbness of environmental apathy and take action.

You can do it in habit-forming, everyday ways:

• Keep reusable bags in your car for trips to the store instead of toting your groceries in disposable plastic bags.

• To save paper, avoid making printouts. If you must print, use both sides of the paper.

• Recycle whenever possible.

• Turn off the lights, turn down the heat in winter, and turn down the AC in summer.

• Carpool or use public transportation.

• Support local environmental initiatives, contribute to national and global campaigns to reduce global warming, and advocate for public policy that's friendly to the environment.

Right here in Madison County, we can play an important role in healing the Earth.

Consider these comments from Gabriel Filippelli, an affiliate of the Indiana University Climate Resilience Institute.

"We know the solutions, but we're just talking about them and almost nothing is in place to enact those solutions," he said last week.

Hoosiers should urge state leaders to create energy policies that net air quality improvements by reducing industrial and road vehicle emissions, Filippelli added.

"We can't stop global climate change on our own, but we certainly have control over much of our local environment," he noted.

Filippelli's words ring true to many. But if they seem to you like just more white noise from an environmentalist, think instead of Johnson's directive — and of our responsibility to future generations.

More online

To read related news articles, search for "species extinctions" at heraldbulletin.com.