On Sunday, April 22nd, the United States celebrated its 47th annual Earth Day, but this day is so much more than a picture of a mountain that came up on your Instagram feed. Earth Day is the celebration of a planet in peril. The 1970’s introduced the US to the phenomena of loving our earth, but Earth Day is crucial now more than ever. As we face a tense political environment and a revolution of growing climate skeptics, it is necessary that we educate our community and abolish ignorance regarding the fact that climate change is real. Issues surrounding the current health of our planet range in topic and are deeply complex, and it is not expected that every student knows the ins-and-outs of this harsh reality, but it is imperative that we educate ourselves on ways we can help.
Basic education is the building block for the growth of any overlooked or misrepresented issue. The debate regarding global climate change has become an issue of “Do you believe?” when it should be a conversation surrounding the question, “Do you understand?” The process of educating oneself can both be simple and social, and attending clubs like Green Team and Social Justice Club can be great places to start.
Earth Day presents the perfect window to find the real facts about our climate and educate ourselves as we celebrate our common home. This increased knowledge leads to tangible change, as proper education provides the perfect foundation for awareness and advocacy. Raising awareness isn’t always about marching in major cities (though very important), but can be simple and fun!
On Sunday, for example, Social Justice Club met on the quad with other members of the community to paint rocks with environmentally minded pictures or facts about our planet’s condition. The hope was that scattering these around campus would provide a subtle, but very powerful message about global climate change. In addition, other ways to raise awareness and potentially actualize change can come from keeping up to date on proposed policies regarding environmental regulation and contacting local senators or representatives to voice your opinion on the matter at hand.
While Earth Day is a very important day, the fight against climate change must become something that is talked about each and every day. This dialogue can be sparked by increased education regarding the issue, especially to people who would otherwise be without such opportunities. Earth Day, a day when people come together to have this conversation, should serve as a model for students to continue the important discussions about how to care for our common home – a discussion that I believe Saint Anselm College should have.