Reflecting on Earth Day– Why it’s Important and How it was Celebrated

Written by: Sophia

Edited by: Chris

Visual by: Yana

For almost two million years, our planet has provided for humankind. Our food, our shelter, the air we breathe, and everything else we need to survive comes from Mother Earth. It is no secret that we often take her seemingly plentiful resources for granted, with the thousands of mines constantly searching for more and more coal, oil, precious gemstones and the trillions of liters of water used annually to manufacture clothing that, more often than not, is thrown away after minimal usage. Though there have been efforts in recent years to reduce humanity’s  impact on our home planet, the harm we do still greatly exceeds the good. 

Prior to 1970, sustainability and conservation did not top the list of pressing world issues–factories and gas-guzzling cars pumped out pollutants with little concern for their detrimental effects on not only the environment, but on human health as well, with air pollution being considered the “smell of prosperity.” However in 1970, Gaylord Nelson, a junior senator from the United States, organized a public demonstration standing against the 150 years of man-made environmental damage. On April 22, 20 million Americans participated, and the event was henceforth known as Earth Day. The celebration has since diffused to all corners of the globe, becoming the Earth Day we’re familiar with, a day to conserve energy, reduce, reuse, and recycle, and plant a tree (though we should try to do this everyday!) 

This year’s Earth Day took place last Thursday, April 22. Members of our very own ISM community celebrated it and shared how they showed love for our planet. 

Sustainability Council took an extra step, and celebrated not just Earth Day, but Earth Week. On Tuesday, they spotlighted several vegan recipes through  their Instagram account, @ismsustainability. On Wednesday, they held a “Seaspiracy” documentary viewing followed by a discussion. Then,on Thursday, they posted a series of informational slides to educate their followers on Earth Day. 

Ananya, a member of Sustainability Council, was most involved in the “Seaspiracy” viewing. The documentary centered on overfishing and “how to know which brands and companies to trust in terms of doing the right thing for the environment”, followed by an enriching discussion about “what sustainable fishing means, how to integrate sustainability into our curriculum, the progress we’ve made so far, and what we can do to help in our daily lives as students.” Some ideas brought up were to eliminate or reduce fish intake to adopt a more plant-based diet  (if dietary restrictions permit) as “commercial and overfishing is one of the leading causes for climate change” and “93% of the world’s carbon is stored in the ocean, so having more marine life keeps the carbon from going to the atmosphere.” 

Sophomore Joaquin also celebrated Earth Day by planting a small tree in his family’s garden, saying that “it’s my way of giving back to nature, a thank you for everything that it provides us with.” Joaquin, having visited numerous beaches, forests, and mountains over the years, believes that we “shouldn’t just aim for preservation, but we should make improving our environment the priority if we want it to continue to thrive.” 

“Earth Day”, as Ananya says, “is a great way to raise awareness on the state of the planet, the urgency of the situation, and inspires people to act and protect the natural world.” Joaquin reflects that “being locked in our homes for such a long time has allowed everyone to become more conscious of their everyday habits that affect the environment and figure out ways to change them.” After all, if we don’t work towards saving the planet, who will? 

Sources:

“The History of Earth Day.” Earth Day, 1 Apr. 2021, http://www.earthday.org/history/.