Point Counter-Point: Is there a point to Earth Day?
Lighter shade of green
Every year students around the country engage in Earth Day activities. Planting trees and picking up garbage are classics.
Once Earth Day is gone, the majority of people only have a passing interest in being green. Sustainability is just a buzzword to them. It’s a trend.
Speaking in general terms, there are a lot of young people who go green because it seems to be the fashionable thing to do. Are there people out there who are actually committed to the cause? Yes, there definitely are people committed to the cause. However, it seems there are a great number of people who have gone green because the reusable shopping bags are “cute.” Did you get that Nalgene bottle because it’s good for the environment or because everyone else has one?
If most people are only being green when it is convenient, then what should those who are committed do about it? The best thing is to continue pushing the green trend as much as possible, but not in an overly aggressive manner. Those who are apathetic about being green are likely as green as they will be. Pushing to hard will only make those who are committed look crazy.
If everyone were to commit to living a green and ethical life style, we would all be driving electric cars, drinking only fair trade coffee, and eating free-range chicken. Since we are not, it is clear we are not as committed to being green as we think. We have come a long way since Wisconsin Senator Gaylor Nelson founded Earth Day. However, how many people even knew he was the founder? Not many. We can all pick up trash and plant some trees and that is great for the world, but let’s not let ourselves think we have all become green, there is a long way to go.
A bit greener
I remember when I was little, I would celebrate Earth Day in class by coloring flowers, playing in the school garden, and crafting soda bottles into science projects. I’d like to believe that in some small way, this established a green streak for the rest of my life.
Now it’s easy for me to recycle my yogurt containers, reuse my water bottles, buy post-consumer products, and help my grandmother with her compost gardens. I feel that the choice is almost always available for me to go green. Especially now, as a student, I feel that my environment ego is prepared to go the extra mile.
As a student, I can enter the workforce and find a green job – the first time in history that an emphasis has been placed on environmentally savvy positions for all walks of life. I’d like to think that my generation has spurred some of these changes. As consumers, we are pretty powerful too – green products have only recently become trendy and I’d like to think that we are a group to be paid attention to.
Now, obviously I cannot pinpoint the place and time that I started reusing grocery bags, installing CFL light bulbs, shop at farmers’ market, and unplugging my appliances when they’re not being used but I’d like to think that these values were instilled through Earth Day initiatives.
Sure, it’s only one holiday, but it creates an awareness of environmental issues and makes environmental solutions more common place. If I can tell that the environment is important to the community around me then I will be just as likely to value it as well.
Anyways, if you want to green up your life you can visit a few of my favorite blogs: The Daily Green, Tree Hugger, Simple Organic, and Keeper of the Home. GOOD Magazine is also a great resource for thought provoking ideas.