Earth Day is April 22. While the rest of world just has a day, USD does things a little differently.
At USD, Earth Day has become Earth Days, where the entire week is home to events, including speakers, movies and stargazing, aimed at promoting sustainability and awareness. Put on by the USD Sustainability Club, Earth Days are a prime example of how activism and awareness can lead to change.
Of course, when Earth Day is mentioned, many people’s minds jump straight to climate change. Unfortunately, the political climate surrounding this issue often shuts down productive discussion and progress. Climate change is real. The world is warming. Science backs it up. The next question is what to do about it, which is where we can have an honest political discussion. But that’s not the point of Earth Days.
Earth Day is about exploring our shared environment. It’s about exploring ways to change our society so that we can go into the future in a sustainable manner, something we all should want regardless of political affiliation. Even for the most ardent doubters, even if climate change wasn’t a fact, it would still be a good idea to development sustainable methods of existence.
For those who aren’t convinced or have those doubts, it’s better to create green solutions and become sustainable rather than to gamble our future and regret it later when it’s too late.
With that being said, the way Sustainability Club is putting on the event is admirable. It removes all political veils and focuses on the science, problems and solutions. The event is open to all people of all persuasions and aims to get all points of view. The events are unique and engaging, a feat which science can struggle with at times, especially dealing with college students.
There is another fact that should be celebrated. USD has just created a Ph.D. program in sustainability, one of the few in the country. It not only sets USD apart from other universities, it puts us at the forefront of environmental causes.
Perhaps the best part of Earth Days is that it reminds us of our common home. We only have one home: Earth. If we lose it, that’s it. We can try to move to Mars (which some people are working on), but Earth was made for us and it’s perfect. Earth is all we have at the moment and we should not forget it. We can’t neglect our blue planet.
Carl Sagan, the famed physicist, put it best: “That’s here, that’s home, that’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone yo know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives.” Every person who ever walked, every president, writer, thinker, general, pope, bully, artist, singer, they all walked here, on our little ball of dirt orbiting a ball of fire in a relatively small galaxy.
If we neglect our planet now, we not only threaten our own existence, but the existence and happiness of untold millions behind us. And while Earth Days is only a week long, every little bit helps. Anything which reminds us of our fragility, and the fragility of the planet, can only help us.