By Stevie Walker, Writer
On April 22nd, the world celebrated its 46th annual Earth Day. Though many of us did not celebrate Earth Day (some didn’t even know of its existence), it is actually a very important holiday to be recognized and appreciated. Earth Day has a vibrant history and important implications for our future.
Earth Day began back in 1970 when Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson pushed for a national “teach-in on the environment” day. He witnessed an oil spill in Santa Barbara that caused him to realize the wastefulness of America at the time. Nelson was also inspired to start Earth Day by Rachel Carson’s novel, Silent Spring (1962). In her novel, Carson exposed the detrimental effects of pesticides on the environment. It sparked the environmental movement and the beginnings of concern for the effects of pollution on living organisms. On the first Earth Day, 20 million Americans rallied and demonstrated across the country in support of the environment. It was a huge success and became an even larger success in 1990, when Earth Day went global and 200 million people celebrated it. Today, 184 countries celebrate Earth Day as a day to appreciate and reflect on the importance of our Earth.
Earth day seeks to teach us that our resources are limited, and it is critical in today’s day and age that we conserve our resources in any way possible. Paying attention to what we use and purchase on a daily basis is a good way to start. For example, buying new technology and appliances as often as many of us do is very wasteful. The more we can reuse our resources the better. Also, eating less meat is a good way to reduce your carbon footprint because the meat industry accounts for 20% of the world’s carbon emissions. Purchasing food at your local farmer’s market helps make the food industry sustainable. If you are more of the activist type, lots of campaigns, petitions, and information can be found on www.earthday.org. Tackling global warming often seems like too big of a challenge to handle, but if each and every one of us does something small, that will add up to something big. If we foster change by increasing awareness, we can make the Earth a cleaner place.
At Forest Grove High School, a group of students doing just that. Earth Club is doing lots to reduce our school’s carbon footprint. Though they are known as the club who takes out the recycling every week, they do so much more. This year, Earth Club has partnered with PSU to perform a waste audit at the high school, which showed the school’s waste composition and usage. Earth Club also does gardening, composting, community outreach, and charity work. Earth Club President Edgar Sanchez says that this year the club has focused on expanding their opportunities and has made it their goal to “raise awareness and connect the environment to students”. They are always looking for new members to help them in their quest for a greener community. Earth Club meets every Tuesday after school in room 2705. Come join them to learn more how you can conserve. This is a great way to start making a difference.
As cliche as it may sound, the small lifestyle changes are the ones that will make the biggest difference. Our society can do so much more than we currently are to stop the progression of global warming. This planet is the only one we have got; earth day is an important day to reflect on this. Just as Earth Club has done, we must set goals for how to make Earth a greener place. So let’s come together as a community and make this a reality.