As Earth Day approaches every year, many people become much more sensitive about their carbon footprint, where their food comes from and how it is made, conservation of natural resources, recycling, etc. People flock to Earth Day festivals and learn how to grow gardens and what materials are recyclable and which ones aren’t. They see pictures of and even meet live animals that have been wounded due to manmade structures and objects or may be on the endangered species list, and find out what can be done to save them. They write checks to nonprofits to help preserve our coasts, the Channel Islands and the creatures swimming between them. Some apply these causes to their lives for the long haul, while others just give it attention over the holiday. Whatever the case may be, there is a strong sense of community and partnership when it comes to saving the planet from manmade disasters. But what about the people on our planet and trying to save them — from themselves?

There is no denying that American society and the global society — we all have our differences, differences that we may never find a compromise to camaraderie. But in civilized nations throughout the world, we can all agree that the loss of innocent lives through purposeful acts of violence are not and will never be condoned. As we mourn for those wounded and killed through acts of terrorism at the Boston Marathon earlier this week, we need to reflect on our commitment to making this world a better, safer place for everyone — in the same way we dedicate our lives to saving our planet.

Since the November presidential election, much debate has gone on over the standard of living in this country, about education, gun control, minimum wage, immigration reform, civil rights, etc. Stubborn politicians on both sides of the fence have stalled many negotiations, further proving the futility of Congress to represent the will and be the voice of those who elected them. But perhaps, to prevent tragedies like Boston from happening, we can finally put our differences aside and explore how and why these terrible tragedies happen, rather than just reacting to them with vengeance.

As in the past, people who commit such crimes against humanity usually seem to have some sort of mental disability, a mental illness and/or are religious zealots. For some reason, we just slap such labels on them and prosecute them and their accomplices to the fullest extent of the law and then it is over. We don’t look at their quality of life and how a person could be convinced to set off bombs that could potentially kill hundreds of people. For someone to be so cold, so full of malice, so disconnected from fellow mankind, presumably there must be so much depravation in their life that such a person has no sense of sympathy or empathy for anyone else, because his or her life has no value. It might be due to poverty, lack of education, discrimination, neglect as a child — it could be none, one or an array of these desperate situations. Unfortunately, while we can find a compromise to come together to save our planet, we remain disjointed to save mankind.

Over the Earth Day holiday and as investigators search for clues as to who unleashed on Boston and why, we must take some time to reflect and find out how we can possibly improve the quality of life for everyone in this country, and how we can further that to other nations. Though the person or group who carried out the Boston attacks may not be impoverished, uneducated, etc., we cannot deny that desperation too often leads to senseless, violent situations. After all is said and done, there is only one thing left to ask: what’s the point in all the hard work put into saving the planet if we can’t save ourselves?