Efforts to commemorate Earth Day

Since 1970, Earth Day has been celebrated on April 22. Those who celebrate Earth Day usually focus on litter and recycling. This photo was taken near the Pottle Performance Circle. Jacob Summerville/The Lion's Roar

Several departments around campus expressed their respect for the environment by celebrating Earth Day.

Although the holiday occurred on Sunday, April 22, the Campus Activities Board and Reconnect honored Earth Day on Monday, April 23. 

Freshman business administration major and CAB Event Manager Megan Blomquist explained why CAB decided to celebrate Earth Day by painting flower pots and planting flowers.




“One, to get people outside on a beautiful day and in a different area too and let their creative side just be, paint and plant a flower,” said Blomquist. “It’s kind of cool just to see something that you do grow. You plant. You water. You see it grow, and its kind of rewarding.”

Blomquist shared that CAB originally wanted to host two separate events to celebrate an additional holiday.

“There was a Flower Day, but we realized when we were planning it, it would be close to Earth Day,” said Blomquist. “So, instead of just planting flowers, we’re just handing out ways to save the Earth.”

The sociological club Reconnect worked with the Southeastern Sociological Association to spread awareness of the recycling initiatives taking place on campus as well as in Louisiana.

Junior biological sciences major and President of Reconnect Diana Taj stated that the two organizations presented information that discussed the processes of recycling.

“We are both just informing people about what the school does, which is single stream recycling, and what recycling plastic numbers mean,” said Taj. “For example, when you have a Styrofoam cup that has the recycling number 6 imprinted on it, you would think that you can recycle it. In the case of Louisiana, you can't because we do not have a factory that can do that.”

Taj explained why Reconnect and SSA chose the topic of recycling.

“It’s a passionate topic that we can talk about really in depth and quickly about to a student passing by going to class,” said Taj.

To some student that celebrated Earth Day, there are several ecological issues that can be addressed.

“This can range from saving endangered species to implementing solar and wind energy to renewable resource use,” said junior biological sciences major and President of the Biology Undergraduate Society Kaelen Novak. “I feel that the awareness of this day is important, especially now with individuals doubting or denying things such as global warming, various sciences and education in general, to help educate the public on things that they can do to help keep this planet alive and healthy.”

The Sustainability Center placed a display of bins filled with recyclable materials shaped to form the word “WHY” near Tinsley Hall for the week following Earth Day.

Manager of Grounds, Landscape and Recycling Carlos Doolittle explained what he hoped the students learned from the display.

“It is intending to ask thought-provoking questions,” said Doolittle. “‘Why litter?’ ‘Why recycle?’ ‘Why care?’ These are open-ended questions, but we hope that viewers will find in their hearts a common desire to make and keep our community a better place.”

Doolittle shared how the recycling initiatives on campus will increase during next fall.

“40 additional blue outdoor recycling containers are on order,” said Doolittle. “They will be in place for the fall semester, offering students a total of 60 outdoor recycling locations. We hope the increased availability and convenience will inspire good habits.”

Department Head of Biological Sciences Dr. Christopher Beachy said that his more direct impact towards environmental awareness has been through education. He wants students to muse about questions such as, “Why has global atmospheric carbon dioxide been going up?” and, “How’s that related to deforestation, and how’s that related to cultural evolution and society?”

Beachy shared a couple of ways students can become involved with the message of Earth Day.

“I think students should become activists, especially with regards to promoting science and to promoting how we understand climate change,” said Beachy. “Promote science, promote climate change, educate about climate change, educate about biodiversity and species losses. Also, just go pick up garbage, go pick up trash.”

Novak said that to “practice what you are preaching” is an effective method to promote the message of Earth Day after the holiday has passed.

“Recycle, bring reusable bags when you shop, plant things to help clean the air, don’t waste things, donate clothing instead of throwing it away, helping support sustainable businesses, if able, convert to hybrid vehicles, solar power and similar,” said Novak. “If you set the example and then advise others to do so, they are more likely to follow your lead.”

Beachy explained why Earth Day is a day of awareness instead of celebration.

“We do make some progress, but all the times that we make progress, often times it comes with too much of a fight,” said Beachy. “Why do we have to fight for clean air and clean water? It’s unbelievable, but because there’s commercial interest involved and people like to make a good income, that’s natural. So, I feel like it’s more of an awareness thing because it’s hard to point to real triumphs.”  

Beachy stated that one of the reasons there is such an anti-scientific perspective is through the disrespectful ways people treat others with differing opinions. By conducting research at North Dakota farms for amphibian surveys, Beachy shared how treating the farmers with respect, although they had a different perspective on science, can better the community both socially and environmentally.

“The farmers in North Dakota would always ask me, ‘How are they doing? Am I doing everything OK,’” said Beachy. “There was a better relationship there, and that was based on talking to people and treating people with respect and not demanding that they adopt your viewpoints. So, I would say interpersonal relationships and treating everybody with respect is a really important thing right now.”

Squirrels are commonly found around campus in areas with several trees. This photo was taken near the Pottle Performance Circle. Jacob Summerville/The Lion's Roar

Squirrels are commonly found around campus in areas with several trees. This photo was taken near the Pottle Performance Circle. Jacob Summerville/The Lion's Roar