This week has been a rather sad time for the Earth. The Republican’s passed their tax bill through the Senate, and while it has its fair share of awful things going on in it, none, to me, are as bad as legislation that was snuck in that would allow oil drilling in the Alaskan Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The proposal is hidden in the several hundred page tax bill and would open up 1.5 million acres of the ANWR to oil drilling. I’m convinced that corporate greed knows no bounds.

Unfortunately, when I woke up last Saturday, and saw that the tax bill had been passed in a very sneaky way (at 2 a.m. with no time for anyone to actually read it; not to mention many pages had hand written scribbles on it), I thought certainly the news for the week couldn’t get worse. I was wrong.

On Monday Donald Trump announced that he would be reducing two national Utah monuments by a total of two million acres which only pleased two groups: businesses and small government. This action has been widely frowned upon by Native Americans and environmentalist.

There is an old proverb that says, “When the last tree is cut down, the last fish eaten, and the last stream poisoned, only then will you realize that you cannot eat money.” I think many people think that we can keep tearing this Earth apart and destroy as much as we want and there will be no consequences. How foolish.

Rather than industrializing beautiful land, we should work to fill empty spaces in cities. There’s plenty of jobs. The national unemployment rate is under 5 percent, which is very good. Everywhere a person looks they can spot a place hiring. Instead of filling the empty buildings and cities we have now with jobs, this country seems determined to destroy nature and dig for oil. I’m tired of the excuse that we need coal mines and oil rigs because they create jobs. Do you know what else creates jobs and doesn’t pollute the Earth? Wind energy and solar power.

Wind energy and solar power are clean, and the Earth has an endless supply of both wind and sun. The U.S. wind sector employed more than 100,000 workers in 2016; each one of those people are contributing to a cleaner Earth. According to the Energy Department, the wind industry has the potential to support more than 600,000 jobs by 2050. Locally, wind energy has the potential to create more jobs, and thanks to Vantage Career Center, those interested can learn to be a wind technician right here in Van Wert County. Fun fact: did you know that the Blue Creek Wind Farm is the largest tax payer in Van Wert? They pay more than the next top 11 companies in our county combined. Impressive!

I live right by a wind turbine, and every day I’m thankful that it is there. It’s beautiful and thanks to it and others like it, the world is stepping toward a cleaner, less polluted Earth. Actually I’d like to take a small moment to address some wind turbine myths.

I’ve lived by the wind turbines since they day they were built and have only heard the sound of them once on a very quiet day. They do not cause headaches or illness directly. Actually, “wind turbine syndrome” is cause by anxiety generated by heightened awareness of turbines. It causes the “nocebo effect” which basically means that because people have negative expectations of wind turbines, and believe they actually do have negative effects on a person, their body creates the symptoms, much like the “placebo effect.” And while I can go on and on about wind turbine myths, the point of this column is to express that our nation should be protecting the Earth, not destroying it.

The fact is, what we are doing to the Earth is not sustainable. If we keep going at this rate, we can expect worsening weather and continued natural disasters. We should be doing more to preserve nature, and it’s shameful that our current administration seems to be doing everything they can to build a larger carbon footprint rather than a brighter future. We need to do more to protect the Earth. You can not work on a dead planet.