michelle and howard

We Can All Do More to Save the Earth

More by Libby Markham - 5/17

O

n April 22nd, my Instagram feed was consumed by countless pictures of sunsets, oceans, forests, and animals. This date was given the title of “Earth Day”, and it was clear that everyone I knew was passionate about the earth we live on. Their captions expressed their love even further, and while scrolling through picture after picture, I realized that this isn’t the point. While posting pictures of pretty views is seems like a harmless thing to do, there’s some hypocrisy embedded in this action if these Earth Day posts are the only action people are taking against climate change.

Sophomore Emma Cavoli noticed this trend as well, and saw through the image people were trying to create for themselves. “A lot of people just post photos because they think they’re posting an artsy photo, and they do it just to get more likes, but they don’t really understand what they’re posting for or the reasons behind it, and why Earth Day is so much more important than that,”
A common feeling that comes from people is frustration. When people are acknowledging that there is a problem with our environment, but fail to do anything but post on Instagram, it can feel hopeless. “It’s frustrating when people post pictures on Instagram for Earth Day yet don’t really make an effort to make the earth better. Some do join clubs… but no one is really aware of the amount of trash we create or try to make it a part of their lifestyle to reduce this amount,” sophomore Quin Wolters said.

I know it can seem like there are no real opportunities to get involved sometimes, but when it comes to the environment, there is never a shortage of things you can do to help.
Maybe the best place to start is with school habits. Take one lunch power hour at DHS and just think of the amount of trash we produce in the span of one period. Rumors of our recycling bins being “fake” and used to cover up the fact that our school does no recycling at all has been spreading for some time.

To find more about this horrifying rumour, I took to the cafeteria and asked some of our janitors for help. What I discovered is that our school is indeed equipped with single stream recycling, which is defined as “a system in which all recyclable materials –- fiber (newspaper, cardboard, mixed paper, catalogs, magazines and junk mail) and containers (glass, steel, aluminum and plastic) – are placed, unsorted, in one recycling bin and sorted by state-of-the-art processing equipment at a regional recycling center,” according to the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority.

So what does this mean? It means that all of the paper and plastic you’ve been mindlessly tossing into the trash doesn’t belong there- it belongs in the recycling bins. So now that you know that almost all of your lunch packaging can be put in the blue bins in the cafeteria, make it a habit to only toss food into the trash and recycle the rest.

There are other ways to help do your part for the earth as well. Start with purchasing reusable water bottles. A plastic water bottle can take an average of 1,000 years to biodegrade, according to the Water Project, and about 80% of these single-use water bottles become litter. Switching to reusable water bottles will not only save you money, but help to save the earth.
Starting small with minor changes to your lifestyle will eventually help add up and make a bigger impact than you could imagine. Starting with recycling at school and using reusable water bottles will start you off on the right track to an eco-friendly lifestyle, but you shouldn’t stop there.

After becoming more conscious of your actions and how they affect our earth, you should become more aware of how our government is viewing climate change. According to MSNBC, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said he does not believe carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming. Whatever your views are on climate change and what actions our country should take in relation to our environment, it’s crucial to be aware of what’s going on in the Trump Administration in regards to our planet. Simply knowing what is happening with our energy sources and regulations will help you decide how much action you want to take to do your part for our earth. Being aware and taking action accordingly will not only help you feel more empowered about making your own decisions, but will also help you discover what values are important to you.

While there is no pressure to make drastic shifts in your lifestyle to help conserve energy and reduce your carbon dioxide emissions, there also is nothing holding you back from going above and beyond either. The measures taken to protect the earth are not always the same for everyone, but each and every person should be doing their unique amount for our planet that correlates with their beliefs in regards to our environment.

 

To learn about the beginnings of Darien High School's Eco-Citizen's Club, click here.