It’s Earth Day, and yet again some of humanity hopes to amend years of seemingly irreparable damage inflicted on the planet.
Students gathered near the University Student Union, drawn initially by the assortment of crafts offered. While they worked on their sustainable crafts, such as upcycled earrings and tote bags, they were being educated on the significance of honorary holidays such as “Earth Day.”
For those who identify as a millenial and are currently enrolled in college, treating the planet well seems like common sense. After all, much of the blame for the destruction inflicted upon the planet is in the hands of the generations of those older than us.
According to an article by the Guardian, Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius had already begun to observe the human impact on the climate in the 1890s. During the 1960s, measurements of the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere led to the correlation between increased presence of the gas in the atmosphere and the rising global temperature. After this discovery, climate change still somehow remained an afterthought for much of the population.
Therefore, events hosted by ASI Beach Pride, like Earth Day and even the celebration of an entire Earth Week, play an important role in increasing the outreach and awareness of the issue of climate change. They serve to inform and encourage the younger generation to increase their knowledge of living a sustainable life and of the state of the environment.
While I believe that it’s impossible to disprove and ridiculous to disbelieve in the human-caused damage sustained by the planet, some of my peers are uninformed about what it means to live “sustainably.” According to Conserve, Energy, Future, a sustainable lifestyle is defined as a way of living in which one tries to reduce the amount of natural resources needed to survive.
It is easy to assume that, with a greater access to knowledge about the climate and the ways in which it is being altered, younger generations should be more informed and therefore more proactive.
But a study done by Sandra Wachholz, Nancy Artz and Douglas Chen which was included in the international journal of sustainability in higher education, found that one-third of students surveyed “do not comprehend the level of scientific consensus about climate change.” The survey also found that those who are aware that the planet is currently in the throes of climate change were doing little to combat the effects of greenhouse gas emissions
Another study conducted May 2018 by Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab found that 59.1% of millennials considered themselves more concerned about the state of the environment that older generations. The study goes on to say that there is a significant difference between perspective and proactivity and that there is a greater need for action than there is for concern.
Scientists and researchers are encouraging institutions of higher education to move toward living a sustainable life and reducing their overall footprint as well encourage their students to reduce their own impact.
This further proves that events that celebrate sustainability are beneficial to not just the college as an institute but to the greater good of the planet.
So, the next time you see an event happening on Earth Day at your campus be sure to stop by and ask what you can do for your planet and not what it can do for you.