SHOULD YOU HAVE DONE FOR EARTH DAY?
have two environmental recommendations that I have made before. As almost
everyone who likes to breathe clean air knows, Earth Day was April 22.
But one day is not enough.
celebrate Earth Day year-round, from the time we wake up until we go
to sleep, all day, every day. After all, we want a clean, healthy and
enjoyable environment all the time, not just one day a year. I suggest
that we start celebrating Earth Year and make Earth Day something we
did last century.
already have the Earth-Year attitude and help make our environment safe,
healthy and pleasant in myriad ways.
my favorite contributions is to answer questions that help people become
familiar with the world's intriguing array of life-forms and ecological
interactions. The complexity of both exotic and everyday plants and
animals is fascinating.
answering questions about plants, animals and natural habitats and engaging
in exchanges about environmental awareness and appreciation year-round.
recommendation is for people who have environmental queries (which I
hope would be everyone to some degree) to exercise at least minimal
I do not
check my email every day, but I do try to respond to all queries as
soon as possible. Of course, if your question is like this one - "I
have a rattlesnake coiled up on my front porch. Should I let the dog
and children play in the yard?" - my answer may be too late to
help you. Sorry.
timeliness of my responses is not the issue. My point is that the basic
elements of any email from a polite and reasonably intelligent person
should include who you are and where you are.
to be responsive to people who write me with environmental questions.
But how much time should I invest in an email that says, in its entirety,
"I would like to know how to raise catfish. Please respond as soon
I did send
the anonymous writer from an anonymous place the link to a website on
raising catfish. Should I have done even that?
one that is more frequent than I care to think about runs something
like this: "I am doing a report for class and would like for you
to send everything you can about ecology and the environment. My report
is due tomorrow. Sparky." These are the kinds of emails I like
to open a day late.
should I respond to "I saw a black snake crossing the street. What
is it?" No herpetologist could give a definitive answer without
knowing - at the very least - what continent you saw the snake on.
of problematic emails I have received goes on and on. But it's time
to bring this rant to a close and offer four simple rules for composing
an email in which you are asking someone for information or advice.
your name and, if appropriate, your affiliation with a school or organization.
where you live. Remember that with most emails someone only knows what
planet you live on. An important clue for identifying some plants and
animals is specific location. If you are requesting information about
a topic for an academic project, identify the course you are taking.
for the possibility that you may have to wait a few days for a response.
your message in standard English, not text and online chat abbreviations.
And take time to proofread it before you press send.
are my two suggestions: First, one day is not enough to honor the earth
and all its glories. Let's celebrate Earth Year, each day, all day long.
Second, I commend everyone who wants to learn about animals, plants
and ecology. Just remember to follow the simple rules of email etiquette
outlined above to ensure that you get a helpful answer in a timely fashion.
you have an environmental question or comment, email