by Kristine Howard (D-167)
The Age of the Enlightment, spanning the decades from about 1680 to around 1820, sprang from the minds of 17th Century thinkers including Galileo, Hobbes, Bacon and Descartes. The era found form with two transformational publications, Sir Isaac Newton’s “Principia Mathematica” in 1686 and John Locke’s “Essay Concerning Human Understanding” in 1689. The books together were a mathematical, scientific and philosophical road map for the Enlightenment age of reason and science.
The Enlightenment taught us that we can understand the physical world through math and science, that there are universal truths ruling nature and the way our world works. The scientific revolution that came with the Enlightenment truly changed the way we understand our planet.
The outbreak of the Coronavirus has brought us a new kind of enlightenment. Throughout the world we are seeing amazing environmental outcomes as a direct result of our worldwide shutdown. Practically over night Los Angeles has the cleanest air it has experienced in decades. The canals of Venice are streaming with clean, clear water. In Punjab, India, the Himilayan peaks are visible for the first time in 30 years. Wildlife throughout the world are roaming the streets of major urban areas. Sea turtles are relishing people-free beaches.
We can only hope that for those among us who doubt the human impact on our environment and climate change, the Coronavirus shutdown brings them some environmental enlightenment. To deny science is to deny our Enlightenment history and deny our children and grandchildren an enlightened future.
I am proud to have a 100% voting record on environmental issues and the endorsement of Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania, the top environmental watchdog in the Commonwealth. My environmental outlook dates back to the first Earth Day. And it has grown even stronger as we celebrate Earth Day today.
Happy Earth Day!