The importance of Earth Day is undeniable, but shouldn’t every day be Earth Day? For the college’s body, sustainability is key for life now and in the future.
Sustainability has been a key subject in society for decades, and the college has been involved for a very long time. Good role models have come before the ones we have now, but it is time to focus on the real ideals of sustainability and promote them so younger generations can have a healthier future. Earth Day has played a huge role on this fight.
For Lani Witters, associate professor of science, awareness has grown from within the students. Her position at the college, environmental science instructor, helps her see these impacts from those past conversations. She believes that Earth Day has already caused some impact because it makes people understand the little daily things. For her, every day should be Earth Day.
“I do see more awareness as I have classes and conversations with students,” Witters said. “I do feel like it is more common for the younger generation to have more awareness, and maybe this has been built through time, school, Earth Day celebrations, just more conversation around those earth protection issues. So, I do think it (Earth Day) has had an impact. I think everybody should understand every purchase we make, everything we choose to eat, all of those things can create consequences in the natural world. So yes, I think every day should be Earth Day.”
Michael Rea, sustainability project manager, believes in the power of Earth Day has of convincing people of adapting their ways of living. Although he thinks it is hard, Rea believes that sustainability is not a matter of believing because there are some things that you just do not do it.
“I think everybody should celebrate Earth Day understanding that the environment that they are in is the thing that it will make them healthy,” Rae said. “It is great that people that are interesting in the environment will celebrate it [Earth Day], but I think it is one of those things that you can convince other people to celebrate. It is hard to convince everybody because people can have different point of views, but it shouldn’t necessarily matter if people believe or not because there is something things that you just don’t do. You don’t throw things out that will end up in a stream somehow. This just doesn’t make sense.”
Rea believes on the power that young people have towards sustainability, and that he realized in the past years that if we keep speaking, change is going to happen.
For Joshua Leone, student leader of the Student Sustainability Alliance, young people should not be afraid to ask question. When he started learning about sustainability, he also didn’t know a lot about it. In his eyes, starting to think critically about the world is key to the future.
“Ask questions,” Leone said. “I didn’t know a lot going into this. If you would ask me anything about composting or recycling, I would have drawn a blank. So, I started to ask questions, and the more questions I asked, the more I didn’t like the answers I got. So, I think it is really important for young people, even if you don’t know where to start or to do, start asking questions and thinking critically about why you do the thing you do.”
Kristy Howell, coordinator of sustainability education and engagement, believes that Earth Day gives us the chance of refocusing on what the world has been doing and giving the space so the people can add more thing to their list of actions.
“For me, the importance of Earth Day is that is gives us a chance to refocusing on what we have been doing,” Howell said. “Maybe add some new things that we can do to the list of actions that we are taking. Earth Day and Earth Week are so valuable because people are talking about the cool things [sustainable habits] that they are doing, so it gives us a chance to interact with people in similar situations, learn with others, and improve our practices.”
Earth Day is also a reminder people are not alone on this fight because doing sustainable habits can bring loneliness. Howell points out the way that the college organized Earth Week helps with this issue.
“The long tradition of Earth Day is a reminder that no one of us is alone,” Howell said. “Doing this [sustainable habits] can feel very isolating, especially for students. Celebrating and absorbing Earth Week the way that we do here at JCCC is a good reminder that it is not the case.”
Witters believes that every little thing can be a step in the right direction. Earth day is a great opportunity to have reminders because even the best sometimes can have bad habits.
“It is hard every day to keep this in front of your mind like thinking carefully of what we do, how we eat, our waste and all those things,” Witters said. “Anything you can give at any day that you can say ‘I want to do something’ is already a step in the right direction. We all need reminders. I teach this stuff every semester and I always feel like I need a fresh reminder of the impacts that I have and how to be more aware of those.”
By Matheus Camossa