Everyone plays part in protecting planet

Jasmine Fleming

by Managing Editor Jasmine Fleming

A few weeks ago, Life Editor Melissa Parker asked my opinion on running an “Earth Day” special section in this issue of The Flor-Ala, and at the time, I was a little apprehensive about the concept.

My first thought was, is there enough information about Earth Day to fill the Life section? As someone who doesn’t put much energy into protecting the environment, I did not know how much other students did, either.

Although I do not go out of my way to poorly impact the environment, the extent of my care is recycling in The Flor-Ala’s office and using a reusable water bottle. But, the Earth Day section made me contemplate what I could do to have more of a positive impact on our environment.

In researching Earth Day, I discovered that the movement has been around since 1970, according to earthday.org. I also saw that the Earth Day Network encourages people to help the environment by outlining specific goals people can help them achieve.

Their website encourages people to plant trees as part of their Earth Day celebration.

Planting trees has many positive benefits, including combating climate change, cleaning the air, providing oxygen and preventing soil erosion, according to the organization Tree People.

I also learned Earth Day Network encourages people to discontinue use of fossil fuels, which include coal, oil and natural gas, according to Environmental and Energy Study Institute.

Fossil fuels are currently the world’s primary energy source, according to the institute, but using them raises greenhouse gas emissions, which negatively affects the planet’s climate.

Individually, we can reduce the use of these fossil fuels by turning off electrical equipment when we aren’t using it, buying equipment that uses less electricity and driving less by carpooling or biking, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

From researching Earth Day on my own, I realized that I may not have known much to begin with, but I also learned I don’t have to make monumental changes on my own. If everyone makes small changes to be more environmentally conscience, we can have a huge effect on our planet.

Luckily, not everyone is as clueless as I was. In the Man on the Street I learned small ways many students protect the environment, and many of them I can do as well.

Hopefully, this special section helps everyone realize the roles we play in keeping the planet healthy. Also, I encourage others to attend the UNA Earth Day Fair 2016 to learn more about even bigger steps and outreach we can implement in our own lives or share with others.

Even small changes now will have a large impact on those who inhabit the planet long after we are gone.