A Call to Action: Earth Day Edition

By: Emily Engelbart
Graphic by: Gloria Lee

For billions of years, Mother Earth has provided us with a place to call home. The vivacity of life, the complexity of humanity, the nuances of an individual, the passions of a community — humans experience all of this on the grounds Mother Earth provided us. 

In return, we have been self-serving, ignorant creatures. We fail to care for Mother Earth as we should. Instead, we release pollutants into her atmosphere. We exploit the resources that are limited. We damage the oceans full of wildlife. To be brief, we are harming Mother Earth in a way that if we continue doing so, she won’t live on forever. 

Today on Earth Day, let’s join as a community to make a difference, even if through small changes. The earth provides so much for us, so we should care for it in return. Leaders of the Campus Environmental Center, Brianna Duran, Brittany Miller, Izi Munera and Samara Zuckerbrod, provide insight into changes that individuals can make to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. 

Bathroom lifestyle changes

  • Use products like reusable cotton rounds (washing machine safe), powdered toothpaste, bamboo toothbrushes, 100% recycled content toilet paper (whogivesacrap.com is great)
  • Switch to bar soaps, shampoos and conditioners to reduce packaging and water
  • Take shorter showers and use low-flow shower heads using less water. Turn off the water while you are scrubbing soap

Cooking/kitchen lifestyle changes

  • Be mindful of what products you are using and what foods you are buying
  • Steer towards a more plant-based diet and cut back on/avoid eating meat. An easy way to get started on this would be to incorporate meatless Mondays
  • Compost
  • Use organizations like Imperfect Produce who sell produce that would normally be thrown away
  • Buy from a local farmer’s market
  • Invest in sustainable packaging (use tupperware that can be used over and over, use reusable produce bags)
  • Use tree-free products. For example, there are treeless paper towels. Or, use dish towels instead of paper towels
  • Look for sustainably sourced materials. It is important to note the environmental impact of products you buy
  • Reduce waste as much as possible. Eat leftovers rather than making a new dish every night. Try to be conscious at the grocery store when buying groceries for the week. Buy in bulk
  • Switch to crops which utilize less water. For example, almonds take much more water to produce than oats, so choose oat milk over almond milk
  • Run the dishwasher on a full load and let the dishes air dry 

School/work lifestyle changes

  • Take notes with Rocketbook, a reusable notebook or on a computer/laptop/tablet
  • Walk or bike when possible (don’t scooter; there are gas guzzling vehicles that must charge them)
  • Opt for the sticky notes feature on the computer rather than physical sticky notes
  • Purchase e-textbooks rather than physical textbooks; if you can’t gt e-textbooks, buy used books
  • Cut back on unnecessary journals or supplies
  • Be mindful of if your technology was produced sustainably
  • Properly dispose of electronics (find a guide at https://www.consumerreports.org/recycling/how-to-recycle-electronics/)

Overall, easy eco-friendly lifestyle changes

  • Keep it simple and buy less stuff (every single product you buy is made from a natural resource, and every single product will eventually need to be disposed of)
  • Utilize carpool and public transportation which helps to cut back on emissions
  • Remember all three R’s of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” and the importance of simply reducing 
  • Before buying a product, go through the following steps: Do you already have it? Can you swap with someone? If not, thrift it
  • Be mindful of whether products were tested on animals (for a guide to the symbols, check out https://ethicalelephant.com/cruelty-free-vegan-labels-logos/)

As inhabitants of earth, we have the capacity to damage the beauty around us and exploit its resources, or, we can live in harmony with our surroundings. We have a great deal of power when it comes to the welfare of the planet. Although we are unable to alter past mistakes, we can move forward with a new attitude, one that prioritizes the earth. Today on Earth Day, I challenge you to make the small changes that collectively contribute to substantial differences. 

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