Opinion: Earth Day Heightens Eco-Friendly Decisions

Earth Day, nationally celebrated on April 22, was founded upon the principles of concerns of the environmental crisis and to make the environment a national concern. The first Earth Day was observed on April 22, 1970. The environmental movement in 1970 gave way to modern day observance of Earth Day. Around the world, Earth Day consists of environmental protests, an urgency for issues such as sustainable energy, a healthier environment, clean energy, and global warming.

Earth Day was created when the nation was at the peak of production and many factories and producers released smoke and smog without fear. Many people did not think of the environment with concern and used much of the earth’s resources without fear of consequences.

The Earth Day that established in 1970 changed people’s minds and made people more aware of the actions on the environment. Across the United States, Earth Day brought people together for common values of changing human behavior to become changes in stride with the environment’s well being. Earth Day seeks to have environmental reform in terms of decision making for the earth and the environment.

In congruence with the Earth Day and its strive to be more responsive and aware to environmental consequences, ten students from Temple City High School have been planning to go to Belize in late May for a field study to learn more about the world and spread more awareness.

Mr. Scott Randles, advisor of the Belize field study trip and current AP Environmental Science teacher, said, “Every day should be Earth Day… [as for Belize] we are going to experience two of the most threatened ecosystems- the rainforest and the coral reefs, understand why they’re threatened, and the more we understand our earth, the more it can impact the decisions we make.”

Another objective of this trip is to continue making the city and community more aware of the consequences of one’s actions that may harm delicate ecosystems.

In an effort to fund for their trip, the students are selling nylon Chico Bags. These bags are more than just a fund-raising idea, but a way to eliminate single- use bag addiction.

In today’s society people are more aware than ever of average bag usage. In fact, the average American uses between 300 and 700 plastic bags per year. An estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion bags are consumed worldwide.

Billions of these bags end up as litter every year, usually ending up in the ocean or in the sea. These bags end up suffocating wildlife in the ocean and it is dangerous to all sea creatures.

Some animals mistake the clear plastic as food and ultimately end up suffocating and choking on the plastic because the plastic does not digest and break down. As a result, these innocent sea animals starve to death. After realizing these startling statistics, people have become more environmentally conscious.

These Chico Bags can help contribute to make those large numbers of plastic bag consumption become vastly smaller: 1 bag is all it takes. The world is taking charge in response to these numbers well; at Whole Foods market, they have a BYOB policy (Bring Your Own Bag).

Many large supermarket retailers are also following Whole Food’s lead in trying to reduce plastic bag consumption as well. By selling Chico Bags and going to Belize, TCHS students can try to do more for the world and though it may seem small, it can make a big difference, especially to the sea creatures around the world.

Part of selling those Chico Bags is to do something and give back to the world, as well as celebrate Earth Day everyday. Buying a Chico Bag may seem minor in comparison to other everyday problems, and it may not seem like much of a solution at first glance compared to such large problems as global warming or deforestation, but one small contribution makes a large difference.

This opinion was written by Connie Lu. It was published in the Temple City Voice on May 7, 2008.

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