Laura Arias, Culture Editor
Everyone’s encouraged to be “green” on Earth Day, just like everyone is encouraged to have a valentine on Valentine’s Day and honor their mother on Mother’s Day. The difficulty that I have with following these celebrations is that they are so related to and intertwined with things and people who are already part of our lives and hopefully, we already cherish. During these celebrations we just honor people in our lives a little more and are expected to do something “special” for them, that which should show them how much we appreciate them. But should we not show people that we love them or honor them every day?
I think that these celebrations are unproductive as they suggest that on a specific day each year we should recognize a person or moment in time, more than we would on any other day. Because of this idea, I disapprove of the creation of Earth Day. Unlike Valentine’s Day, Earth Day makes us think of developing an appreciation for and loving something that is always with us; nature. While you may be stuck at a movie theater dateless and surrounded by smooching noises on a Valentine’s Day, wishing someone would be affectionate with you, nature always nourishes us.
Celebrating Earth Day creates the illusion that we should only embrace nature, recycle, save water and eat healthy, one day out of the year or that we don’t have to do these things as much the other 364 days of the year. Apart from environmentalists and the few people inspired to continue their newly discovered care for the planet, most people who celebrate Earth Day wake up the next morning and could not care less about the plants that were given to them and are now on their window sill, the free Nalgene water bottle reading “Save the Earth” and the pamphlets made out of compostable material that denote various facts about the effects of environmental degradation. On Earth Day, mostly educational institutions, take it upon themselves to have workshops, show documentaries and teach about sustainability and environmental awareness. (I think that educational institutions especially should just integrate environmental education in their educational system). Generally, I believe that people should think of Earth Day as being every day of their lives. Why? Simply, because it actually is.
From the minute we wake up we use electricity, water, paper, food, among many other things, not to mention, that unless we die, we don’t stop breathing air which is becoming more polluted by the day. Inevitably, water, food and air are a human’s life force, yet every day there is a new market scheme that enforces the chemical engineering of food, a new finding of natural gas that must be extracted through dangerous practices and more cars used to make our air nice and smoggy.
Celebrating Earth Day distracts us from the fact that regularly, sustainable practices are not necessarily being enforced yet, they should be. One day of consuming less electricity does not make up for the rest of the days during the year when you leave your lamp on after stepping out of your room. This is not to say that we should have events focused on sustainability every single day and make every course be about environmental awareness, but I do think that we as human beings should recognize how much we depend on the natural world and thus, how much we should preserve and conserve it.