EARTH DAY 2021 : WHY IS THIS YEAR SO IMPORTANT?

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Claire Stinger, Editor

When the pandemic began in 2019-2020, the people on this planet were devastated and confused and many were sick. No one knew the truth or had any knowledge of what the COVID-19 virus was. With that being said, the pandemic halted the pollution caused by humans, and the planet itself was the happiest and healthiest it has been in a very long time. 

Air travel, which at the time dropped 95% according to the TSA, is the cause of “2.5 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions” according to the New York Times. While 75 percent of carbon monoxide emissions are caused by travel by car. The pandemic, with lack of travel and other contributing factors, resulted in a decrease in the levels of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide in the air. Factories and many other CO2-producing jobs were closed as well. 

However, the pollution level decrease that occurred during the most tense and uncertain time of the pandemic, is increasing to normal, nearly higher levels than before. Mandates are beginning to be lifted and life is regaining a sense of normalcy again. During this “normal” lifestyle, there are some things that can be done to try and renew the decrease of pollution and greenhouse gasses. There are many opportunities for countries, states, communities, and individuals to halt and decrease the amount of pollution and air pollution in the world. All of the things that can be done, can and should be done on more than just Earth Day. 

One example of something that anyone can become a part of, is a community clean up group. If there is no community clean up groups local to you, start one! Get friends, family, or even just other members of the community together, and clean up local areas. Another example of something environmentally friendly that can be done to positively affect the environment, is reduce, reuse, and recycle. This is something that has been taught since elementary school, yet many people do not do these things. Not doing the small things you can do, impacts you more directly than you realize. According to Fox News, more than 95% of the air is polluted. Not recycling leads to air pollution, believe it or not. Many people, while illegal, will still burn their trash to avoid fees of taking it to a landfill, which is also detrimental to the environment. Or, aside from burning their trash, they dump it into the non-designated areas. This year it is essential that we step up and be the change we want to see in the world. 88% of the ocean surface is now covered in garbage, and if this continues, you can say bon voyage to your ocean vacations.

Reducing, reusing and recycling, and getting involved are not the only environmentally friendly ways you can alter your life to help the earth. A rising trend that many people are getting involved in, is becoming a “zero waste” household. A zero-waste household is exactly as it sounds. They bring their own containers to fresh markets to support small businesses and avoid using plastics. They are also beginning to use compostable toothbrushes, reusable zip lock baggies, and are refusing straws and other non biodegradable materials that may be provided in public restaurants. 

The earth is a miraculous place, covered in life and promise. If we as a society can take care of something this beautiful, and do our part to ensure that there is a steady decrease in pollution, animals and plants are protected, and do the things that we can to protect nature, this wonderful place that holds us all will last us much longer than it will now. With the steady increase of people not doing their part, or not doing anything at all, the earth is becoming a giant greenhouse in the worst way possible. All of the emissions of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide have no place to escape. They are trapped in the atmosphere of the earth and will ultimately in around 1.75 – 3.25 billion years, be a contributing factor to the earth ceasing to exist. If you would like to celebrate the amazing being that is our earth, consider joining the celebration at an Earth Day event. There will be eight Earth Day events taking place across Indiana. For more information on earth day, and other events around the earth day celebration, visit EarthDay.org.