Is Earth Day still important?

Have we forgotten its true meaning

April 22 was Earth day, and my Instagram feed was filled with pictures of my friends enjoying nature. Some would just post on their stories “happy Earth day!”

On Google, they showcased images from across the world being affected by global warming. You would be shown a picture, some dating as far back as 1996, to the present day. All of the pictures were heartbreaking, as they each showed the slow death of life occurring on our planet.

Seeing the happiness my friends and other large companies have for Earth on social media and then seeing the effects of global warming makes me wonder. Is Earth day still relevant? Have we forgotten the true meaning of it?

From my perspective, people live two lives when it comes to the environment. They say they care about saving trees, saving the turtles and reducing their carbon footprint, but they continue to print sheets of paper for classwork that could have been submitted online, they continue to use one-time-use plastic cutlery and they don’t recycle.

According to the Oxford’s “Our World in Data” webpage, the world produced 34.81 billion tonnes of CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels. It states that, prior to the Industrial Revolution, emissions were super low, and then they grew at a steady pace until the mid-20th century. In 1950, the world produced six billion tonnes of CO2. By 1990, the number quadrupled. At the moment, the world produces over 34 billion tonnes of CO2 every year.

The number of emissions being put into our atmosphere grows every year at an alarming rate. Politicians seem to be making small steps in the right direction by cutting their country’s effects on global warming, but it doesn’t seem to be enough.

We don’t see many companies cutting their carbon footprint, or doing anything to help the environment after they have hurt it.

I personally have not seen individuals in my life be conscious of their imprint on the environment.

I continue to see them use one-time-use products, shop online excessively and drive constantly to places thatthey could walk to. Even when I mention small actions they can take to be a bit more eco-friendly, it seems as though I am brushed off.

Do we really care about the environment as we say we do, or are we saying we do just to save face? Earth day is a day in which people demonstrate support for environmental protection, but all we see are social media posts about the tree leaves and the squirrels that live in them.

We don’t see any real steps taken to actually protect the environment. So, is the true meaning of Earth day gone? Is it just another holiday like Presidents Day, where we say we care, but we really don’t?

As Gandhi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” If we want to see a change in the world, we need to be the change we are all saying we are. Which means no more posts about how pretty the water at the lake is. Put the phone down and start being a friend to Earth by picking up the garbage you see in the sand.

Being eco-friendly doesn’t mean tossing your phone away and living in the woods, living off of grass and berries. It means recycling your cardboard, washing out your plastic containers and bringing them to the recycling center. It can also mean using a water filter, instead of continuously buying a jug or bottle of water. The biggest step each of us can take is reusing the items we have right now in our homes and waiting until the item breaks or needs to be refilled to get a new item.

Society believes being eco-friendly difficult, but it isn’t. It just takes a listening ear, an open mind and thoughtful, intentional actions.