Friday, April 22 is Earth Day! On this day, my Instagram feed is usually filled with pretty pictures of the Earth posted by people who love admiring its beauty. As nice as it is to use Earth Day as a chance to celebrate all of the world’s little wonders, it is important to remember that the original intention of the holiday was to raise awareness about environmental issues and further efforts of environmental protection.

Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin is regarded as the founder of Earth Day, though until its first celebration in 1970, he referred to his idea as the “national environmental teach-in.” Nelson’s concept of Earth Day drew inspiration from the anti-Vietnam war teach-ins happening on college campuses across the country; he envisioned a large, unison grassroots demonstration to “shake up the political establishment and force this issue onto the national agenda.” Nelson presented his idea in the fall of 1969 at a conference in Seattle and received overwhelming support. 

On April 22, 1970, 20 million demonstrators gathered in thousands of American cities and schools to display their support for increased environmental protection. Congress even went into recess so its members could speak to their constituents at Earth Day events!

Earth Day has been celebrated every April 22 since 1970, with this year being the fifty-second Earth Day celebration! On Earth Day, I like to do my part in saving the environment by producing no unnecessary waste. This means that I won’t order coffee from Dunkin because that would be wasting a plastic cup and straw. I will also be conscious to not use any paper plates, plastic utensils, disposable water bottles, etc. I try to be conscious of my waste production and overall consumption habits that negatively impact the environment on a daily basis, but I’m not perfect; sometimes I will want a bottle of soda or use a plastic straw in lieu of a reusable one. On Earth Day, I like to challenge myself to do whatever I can to help the environment, but there are so many things I do–and you can do–here at Fairfield every day that are environmentally friendly! Here are two things I recommend doing–if you don’t already–to help reduce your waste and help the environment.

Recycle

I like to think that this one should go unsaid, as I have been taught to recycle paper and plastic from a young age, but I am always shocked to see so many people throw plastic bottles into the garbage when there is a recycling bin nearby. Recycling is so important because it reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills. It’s something that is so easy to do and can have a large impact when widely practiced!

Stop buying plastic water bottles

Not once in my four semesters here at Fairfield have I brought a pack of plastic bottles here with me; I solely rely on my reusable water bottle! There are many places around campus where I fill up my water bottle throughout the day, such as the library, academic buildings and my residence hall. Not only does my reusable water bottle keep my water cold and hold more water than a plastic bottle, but it also saves me money, time and gas that I would waste going to the store every few weeks for a new case of plastic water bottles. And I guess I should also mention that it’s a more sustainable option than plastic bottles! I am partial to the  YETI thermos, which I have in the color harvest red. Furthermore, I ordered a cap with a straw because that’s my preferred way of drinking. It’s definitely worth the price, but there are less expensive options that I’m sure will work just as well.You can even show off your Fairfield pride by repping a water bottle from the bookstore! They have so many options, you’re sure to find one perfect for you.  

If you love the Earth, remember to treat it well every day, not just on Earth Day!

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