Each year on April 22, Earth Day marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970.
The first Earth Day gave a voice to an emerging public consciousness about the state of our planet. Before the creation of Earth Day, social groups had been fighting individually against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness and the extinction of wildlife.
Earth Day 1970 brought every group together, achieving a rare political alignment and focusing everyone on the issues which work to deteriorate the earth. Now not only does the United States celebrate Earth day each year, but roughly 200 other countries do as well.
“Earth Day is a great time to take a moment to notice the things that we often take for granted, such as easy access to plentiful clean water and clean air and to acknowledge that these things are far more fragile than we realize,” Geology professor Jennifer Johnson said. “The air and water quality that we enjoy in the United States only exists because scientists and medical professionals recognized the high costs of pollution and advocated for laws to control it.”
The Bulldog Sustainability Alliance hosts multiple events for Earth Day and works to increase awareness about sustainable practices which the university and students can partake in.
“We only have one Earth,” Business administration senior and BSA member Elizabeth Towns said. “This is our home and we do not have anywhere else to go. If we are not trying to make our Earth better for the long run and for our kids, there may not be someplace to live. It is especially our generation who can fix the problems from the past. There are so many sustainable practices that you can start to do in your everyday life that show you love the place you live because this is it.”
Johnson said that climate change affects us in ways we might not be aware of.
“We tend to think of climate as something that just affects the weather we experience, but weather and climate are both intricately linked to every aspect of life on Earth,” Johnson said. “They determine animal migration, including pollinators vital to food crops, limit growing seasons, affect the cost of homeowners insurance, impact the viability and range of vectors that spread disease, control how much water is available for drinking and crops and correlate wildfire size and frequency, just to name a few.”
There are so many different ways students can become more sustainable in their everyday life on campus.
Secondary Mathematics Education senior and BSA member Savannah Torrey said, “Air pollution is a big problem. Ferris could incentivize transportation that does not rely on the burning of fossil fuels. Plastic pollution is also a big issue and Ferris could provide more areas to recycle plastic in. As well as post information on what plastic can be recycled near each container.”
“Recycling is accessible [on campus] more than it ever was, but people are not paying attention to it and a lot of trash is going in the recycling bins,” Towns said. “Everyone just needs to be a little more aware and maybe trying to exit out some of the single use plastic. I know more of us are carrying around reusable water bottles and that’s a great way to get rid of all of that plastic.”
Torrey added that students can minimize their food waste at Ferris dining services by not taking more than they can eat. Students can invest in alternatives to cheap disposable plastics like bamboo toothbrushes, water bottles, produce bags and buying items secondhand.
We only have on Earth and one home to live for every generation after our own. Everyday should be treated as Earth Day. The smallest lifestyle changes can make a difference. It may not seem like much, but when everyone does small things it accumulates to large changes.
The BSA has held events throughout the week in honor of Earth Day. On Earth Day this year there will be a 7 p.m. viewing of the Lorax. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org for the link. If you are interested in joining the BSA, email email@example.com.