Earth Week mindset should not end in April

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Earth Week may have ended, but that does not mean taking care of the Earth should be ignored for the rest of the year. The Earth constantly needs our attention and care. The events and lessons learned during Earth Week should be used every day of our lives.

Patrick Jamar, president of Students Allied for a Green Earth, helped oversee and coordinate different Earth Week events from April 22 to 26. SAGE worked alongside the American Marketing Association to advertise and promote various events geared toward conservation. These events included the Plastics Pledge, which asks students to avoid using one-time use plastics for a day. Jamar said 172 students, faculty and staff participated in the pledge, including Chancellor Richard Telfer.

Jamar said SAGE asked students to bring in their plastic bags, and in return, the students received reusable bags. In a span of two days, more than one thousand bags were recycled.

Now imagine if the entire campus upheld this same level of energy displayed during Earth Week throughout the entire year.

Students can take what they have done and learned throughout Earth Week and practice it every day. The pledges made and the actions taken last week should be the beginning of year-long habits, not just week-long initiatives.

Continue to carpool or walk to your job or class. Avoid using one-time plastics and invest in reusable bags and a water bottle. Practice energy conservation. Look for opportunities to volunteer, or donate to environmental agencies.

There are many opportunities off campus for students to help the environment. A quick glance at Earthday.org shows multiple pledges, donation opportunities and programs students can participate in.

Consider how many plastic bottles of water or soda you drink in a week. Now, replace those purchases with the purchase of a reusable water bottle. How much money have you saved? How many plastic bottles were not thrown away? How much can we save together?

The Earth Week mindset should not change once April ends.

Create your own volunteer event. Network with people and groups on and off of the campus to get together to clean up garbage in a local community or park, or plant trees and other plants. Just a few minutes spent picking up trash will go a long way to helping the environment.

When asked what he thinks students should do beyond Earth Week to care for our environment, Jamar said, “Shorten your shower time. Turn off lights before leaving the room to conserve energy. You can carpool to work, or walk instead of drive. Being eco-friendly is a lifestyle choice. It’s not only helpful to the environment but is healthier for you and can save you money.”

The American Marketing Association Vice-President Briana Roy promoted the Recyclable Fashion Show in the UC and Esker. Roy and other participants handed out reusable water bottles to students. “We had a sheet that people signed to pledge to do sustainable acts such as walking to class,” Roy said. “I also did SAGE’s pledge to not use one-time plastics for a day.”

When asked what she thinks students should do beyond Earth Week to care for our environment, Roy said, “I would say that students should continue to save water by taking shorter showers and turning off the water while brushing their teeth.  Also, turning off the lights when they leave saves a lot of energy.  Every little bit helps.

The Earth is the only planet we have. We need to take steps to care for it, not just during Earth Week, but for every day of the year. Taking a few minutes out of your busy day, now as students and for the rest of our lives, to help our environment can go a long way to help our environment, save money and promote a healthier lifestyle.